CHICAGO—Michael Silverman, MD, FACEP, has run a few marathons, but he knows that when he’s training, it can affect how well he does his day job: chairman of the emergency department at Virginia Hospital Center for Emergency Medicine Associates in Arlington, Va.
Dr. Silverman pointed that out in his ACEP 2014 session, “Top Five Habits of Highly Successful Emergency Physicians,” to demonstrate the value he ascribes to self-reflection.
“You have to be able to assess your own needs and skill sets to develop,” Dr. Silverman said in an interview after his ACEP14 session. “You have to spend some time having your own gameplan [for], ‘What am I going to focus on this year?’”
He also said that when he attends ACEP meetings, he has a “direction of the courses that I’m going to go see—and it’s based on what I think my weaknesses are for that current year that I want to build on.”
Dr. Silverman’s list of five successful habits is:
- Bring your A-game to every patient encounter.
- Pay attention to all the details.
- Learn continuously.
- Take care of yourself, physically and financially.
- Define your core values – and live and practice by them.
Of course, he also realizes that’s a lot for a do-it-yourselfer to tackle at once. And he recognizes that no emergency physician arrives at work with the stated goal of not performing well. But he suggests actively getting one’s self in the mindset to be as attentive as possible to every patient on every shift.
“Show up, be prepared, be ready to work and bring your A-game,” Dr. Silverman said. “When you have that, you can focus on the productivity piece.”
Dr. Silverman suggested stepping back and reviewing goals, accomplishments, and attitudes. That means not viewing young ED physicians as newbies who need to be trained. Instead, try to see them as ‘reverse mentors’ who can teach you cutting edge treatments or therapies that didn’t exist when you were fresh out of residency.
In the same vein, he said physicians shouldn’t blow off patient satisfaction complaints “because that patient was this and the other patient was that.” Instead, doctors should take the time to Google themselves and see how a patient might view them.
“We are responsible for our actions,” Dr. Silverman said, “and we need to take responsibility for them.”
Richard Quinn is a freelance writer in New Jersey.