I was cleaning out my (paper) file cabinet last week and came across my plastic name badge from ACEP’s Scientific Assembly in Boston 2003, the year I was elected to the Board.
Explore This IssueACEP News: Vol 29 – No 09 – September 2010
Tucked behind the paper name insert were three small pieces of paper. The first piece of paper is a list of the issues facing emergency medicine and ACEP at the time. I had used the list to prepare for the Candidate’s Forum. Interestingly, many of those issues continue to challenge us now:
- Malpractice crisis (now renamed “professional liability”).
- Election of the President by the Council (incidentally, I was for it).
- Associate membership (incidentally, I was for this, as well).
The second slip of paper is titled “Lessons I’ve Learned From Mountain Climbing.” It was the basis of my 2-minute candidate speech to the Council. Here is what I said then, followed by what I have learned since:
- Always know your goal. For many, reaching the summit of a mountain is the ultimate goal. I maintained both then and now that coming home alive after making the summit is still the ultimate goal. I still believe that no matter what we do, delivering the best possible emergency care to our patients is the ultimate goal.
- Be sure you start at the right trailhead. You cannot climb Everest if you start at the base of Annapurna.
- Keep your gear in good shape. I think that ACEP has taken great care to stay abreast of evolving member needs—through new communication vehicles, through new resources for practicing, through new educational offerings, through new technology. ACEP continues to support wellness for emergency physicians so that they can train for the climb.
- Know how to use a compass and a map (GPS doesn’t always work in the wilderness). Given the growing size and sophistication of the college, and in spite of advances in technology, it is important to maintain basic skills—communicating with the members, representing ACEP and the specialty well, being accountable for the decisions that are made.
- Never rope up with people you wouldn’t trust your life to or give your life for, because on any mountain, it may come to that.
The third, and last, piece of paper stands alone. I wouldn’t change a word, even now.
I believe that a leader of the College should have vision, compassion, commitment, and courage.
I believe in the power of the human spirit.