Taking a positive stance

One of the best things you can do for your own wellbeing is to choose to adopt and project a positive attitude.

That’s the message FACEM Dr Clare Skinner will be delivering when she takes to the stage as part of a panel discussion on personal sustainability, resilience and longevity in emergency medicine at the 2019 ACEM Winter Symposium in April.

Dr Skinner is Director of Emergency Medicine at Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Hospital in Sydney and is also Chair of the Emergency Medicine Network for Northern Sydney Local Health District.

“A positive attitude is cheap. It does not require a committee, it does not require an implementation budget,” Dr Skinner says. “It is a personal change. It can be difficult, but the effects of it are far-reaching.

“The best thing you can do for patient safety in emergency departments is to build a good and positive culture, a culture of safety and trust.”

The panel will also hear of personal journeys of obstacles traversed and offer tools to enable not just to survive but thrive in emergency medicine.

“I think the reason to be kind is because it makes you feel better and when you feel better you do a better job,” says Dr Skinner, who will talk about civility.

“Also, it is really hard to be around people who are rude. So often when I get home at night and reflect on my shift, the thing that sticks in my head is often not a clinical issue but an encounter with a colleague who has been rude to me, or bad behaviour that I have witnessed.

“And there is now really good evidence from the business world that incivility is a major distraction and can lead to error and poor decision making. It is also a major source of burnout.”

Register now

The 2019 ACEM Winter Symposium will be held from 30 April – 3 May in Rotorua, New Zealand.

Check out the 2019 ACEM Winter Symposium website for the program, workshops and social functions.

Register now.

Secure your own mask before helping others

Dr Skinner draws an analogy to flight attendants’ safety message when she is asked why it is important for people to look after themselves.

“At the start of a plane flight we are told that you have to put on your own oxygen mask first, that you can’t look after others unless your oxygen is flowing,” Dr Skinner says.

“For a long time the medical profession has not looked after itself, and in particular in emergency departments our work is high risk and high pressure, and we can’t possibly expect to be at our cognitive and empathetic best unless we are looking after ourselves.”

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