JG: Was it hard, when you had been in the profession for so long, for it to be continually evolving? Or did you enjoy the process of learning things like ultrasound or new techniques that were always popping up?
CC: Oh, yeah—I enjoyed learning. [The advances] were all exciting to me. They weren’t hard to understand either. CTs—there are so many tutorials online now, which has helped make it easy for us to learn how to read CTs and be able to at least get an initial diagnosis until we got an official radiology reading. There have been so many good changes, and they were not hard to adapt to. Actually, I often wondered, “How did I practice without them? Without MRI? Without ultrasound?”
Explore This IssueACEP Now: Vol 39 – No 03 – March 2020
JG: Many physicians struggle with burnout. You had such a long tenure. How did you stay fresh and enthused and maintain it for so long?
CC: I don’t have any secrets. Just keep reading and learning new things. Everything is just so exciting! In fact, [reading and learning is] the one thing I miss. I had wonderful support from my family, especially my wife. When I couldn’t go to a social function, she was the one helping everyone understand why I couldn’t be there. She was probably the most helpful thing. And she enjoyed emergency medicine. She’s not a physician, but she was excited about all of my stories. I think keeping up with your family life as much as you can and, at the same time, reading and learning new techniques are the most important things to fend off burnout.
JG: That’s interesting what you said about having a support system—in your case, your wife—that helped you avoid burnout.
My wife made everyone understand why I couldn’t be at a particular function, and she understood herself. My children also understood and were extremely supportive. That was the most important thing. I still found time to ski, ice skate, roller skate with my kids. And I was team physician for my kids’ high school football team. There were lots of times where we missed important things we would have liked to have gone to, but that’s part of the business of emergency medicine. Yes, it’s true that we have so many times we have to work weekends and have to work night shifts, have to work on holidays. But at the same time, we’re not on call, and when we come home, we’re home.