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Welcome to the tribe! 10 Things to Know for new ED doctors.

Welcome to the tribe! 10 Things to Know for new ED doctors.

This blog for new ED doctors was written for 10 Things to Know

Welcome to the tribe! Emergency Medicine is very much a team sport. While you’re with us, you’re one of us. And we look after our own! Here’s 10 things I would like to you know about working in the ED from an EM reg.

1. The rota is tough.

I know you’re knackered, you’ve probably not seen your friends and family for ages and the rota is playing havoc with your sleep. Please, tell me if you’re struggling. I would rather know, and support you, rather than you burning out. It’s ok not to be ok

2. Don’t lose your humanity

We’re a battle hardened lot, we’re quirky and sometimes cynical. I’m sorry for that. Empathy is something to be treasured, hold onto it. Being kind is never a weakness.

3. Take a break

Thank you, for trying to help me when you’ve been working 8 hours without a break, and you don’t feel able to leave me and the shop floor with a 5 hour wait. You’re amazing. But please, take a break. You’ll be safer, and more productive for it.

4. Debrief

Some of us can seem quite hardened. Trust me, we are feeling it more than we are letting on. If you’re involved a difficult case, an arrest, a sick child, anything, take me to one side and say “can we talk through it”. Even if it’s weeks or months down the line.

5. Let me help with difficult referrals

Sometimes, it seems that you get a hard time for every referral you make. Remember you are advocating for your patient. Trust your instinct; if they need to come in let me shoulder the burden and speak to the admitting team

6.I want to know if you’re feeling threatened

Sadly we are seeing more and more violence towards staff. If you feel vulnerable, even if you think you’re being silly, trust your instinct, leave the cubicle and tell me. I don’t want you in there, let a senior handle it.

7. You’re doing a great job

You may feel like you’re slower than everyone else. That you’re constantly asking questions. That’s ok. You’re being thorough and you’re doing great. Don’t ever feel pressured to speed up. Work at your own pace and always document everything.

8. Breeches are my problem, not yours

Yes discuss your patients early. But breeches are often unavoidable. The important thing is that the patient gets the care they need. Sometimes, that takes longer than 4 hours. You worry about the patient, I’ll worry about the breeches.

9. Complaints

When you’re working flat out it’s devastating to receive a complaint. But honestly? It’s uncommon for anyone to get through an ED rotation without one. Often it’s not about you it’s about the system. Don’t ruminate on it. Grab me, lets talk it through.

10. The nurses are your best friend

ED nurses are awesome. They have years of experience and have seen it all before. Their gut instinct is often right. Listen to what they have to say and ask them for advice. They will always have your back and a shoulder to cry on!

Most of all…enjoy it! It is often said that EM is the best 10 minutes of every specialty. You’ll learn an awful lot and will have a great team around you. Have fun and make sure your intentions are always honourable…

Resources: I would recommend #foamed for learning on the go; it’s fast and it’s free! Try:

-St Emlyns @stemlyns

-Life in the Fast Lane @sandnsurf

-RCEM @RCEMlearning

-SMACC podcasts @SMACCteam

-Resus room @theresusroom




Tea and Empathy @Tea_EmpathyNHS

Wellness Medic @medicwellness

ED Spa @edspa_mcr

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