Now, on the rare occasion that I’m in the cafeteria for breakfast, I get a reminder of why I am here, why I chose emergency medicine, why I don’t mind the long hours and lack of circadian rhythm. In emergency medicine, we have the privilege to be there for patients in their most dire of times and on their most anxiety-provoking days. We have the potential to positively impact the rest of their lives. During the brief time they are in our emergency department, we can make a lifelong difference, and when we’re really lucky, our patients return the favor and give us something to smile about, refuel our compassion, and maybe even sneak us an extra piece of bacon.
Dr. Gende is chief resident in the department of emergency medicine at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City.