Thanks to Alex Mohseni, MD, for his personal story of why he left emergency medicine. (“Why I Quit Emergency Medicine,” EMN 2018;40:1; http://bit.ly/2Pc0ktQ.)
His story resonated with me because it's very similar to my own. I graduated residency in 2001, and truly loved my job, my ED, and my patients. Unfortunately, medicine changed. Patients became customers, and physicians became providers.
I was good at my job. I had great patient satisfaction scores. My patients and staff loved me. But the job started to eat away at me. I lost my edge. I started to dread my shifts and became afraid of my patients. I was terrified of making a mistake. I was experiencing all of this while being pushed to see more and do more faster.
I started working in urgent care, but that was actually worse! Very sick patients go to urgent care because they don't want to go to the ED. Doing CPR on a patient on the floor of an urgent care waiting room became the breaking point for me.
I now practice telemedicine too. I make my own hours. I work holidays only if I want to. I work from home with my dog sleeping under my desk. It's been life-saving for me. I no longer have the stress and anxiety of the demands of emergency medicine. I feel like I can breathe again. My empathy for patients has returned. I actually started having fun taking care of them again.
I am still an emergency physician at heart, and I still think like an EP when I'm taking care of my patients. No one can ever take that away from me or anyone else who leaves the ED. I'm now just a happier, healthier, less stressed EP.
Lara Wiziecki, DO
Orland Park, IL