My friend and colleague Jay Ryno and I went speed dating recently. We had a great time and met many young people with whom we would be glad to partner.
Explore This IssueACEP News: Vol 29 – No 04 – April 2010
You’re probably thinking that we’re a bit old for this. Well, at least Jay.
There was no cologne, karaoke, drinks with umbrellas, or uncomfortable silence involved. We didn’t even have to give out our phone numbers or e-mail addresses.
This was specialty speed dating with first- and second-year medical students at the University of Toledo College of Medicine. This event was a collaboration between our local Academy of Medicine and the medical school. Physicians from all over the community came to share their impressions and experiences in their chosen specialty. Twenty specialties were represented, and nearly 80 students participated.
Twenty tables were arranged in a long, narrow U-shape, and the students came in sets of four, spending only 7 minutes per table. Just enough for a taste. This was a great way for these neophytes to get a feel for what options they have ahead of them.
As I think back about how clueless I was at that stage, I wish there had been a program like that for me. Back then, emergency medicine likely would have been placed at the equivalent of the children’s table at Thanksgiving. On this night, we sat proudly between the anesthesiologists and the psychiatrists. One could induce sleep with drugs, the other by just talking to you. We stayed awake just fine.
We fielded many questions regarding work hours, lifestyle, typical workday, etc. One of the most common and most important questions was, “What do you like best about your specialty?”
We’ve all had days when we could answer that question with a resounding, “Nothing!” For me, those days have been few. I found it easy to rattle off the things I like.
One of the biggest changes in our specialty is the extent to which we will evaluate patients. We have become the diagnosticians of the hospital, at least for acute illness, and I like that. The direct admit is nearly extinct. Generalists and specialists alike know that if a patient is sent through emergency, we are likely to find the diagnosis (or significantly narrow the differential) and initiate appropriate treatment.
In the past, if someone presented at 2 a.m. with RUQ pain and fever, they would get admitted, and the surgeon would order an ultrasound in the morning.