Working in Emergency Medicine can be challenging and unpredictable. In order to be successful you need to have the winning mindset! Every time you go into work you need to wear your white “C.O.A.T.” (figuratively speaking that is). COAT stands for the four aspects behind the psychology of thriving in Emergency Medicine.
C – Catastrophe
The first key point to having a winning mindset is to always enter the room prepared for the worst-case scenario. As clinicians in an emergency setting, we need to always plan for catastrophe. When you approach each patient, you need to collect your thoughts and have a list of potential tragic outcomes. Once you enter the room with that perspective, you can start eliminating possibilities through exams, testing, and history.
If you don’t plan for catastrophe, you will miss things in your diagnosis. You never want to miss something in a diagnosis that you never even considered! That is a scary thought. Avoid mistakes by training yourself to enter each case with the mindset to focus on the possible catastrophes first.
O – Objective
Another important aspect of working in emergency medicine is remain objective when treating your patients. It is imperative that we are able to handle patients without judging them or entering a case with a biased opinion. In this line of work you will be faced with difficult patients suffering from alcohol/drug abuse, unhealthy habits, unstable emotions, or responding irrationally. As providers, we must be able to set that all aside. We don’t have the right to judge a patient’s lifestyle, we must serve them.
Being able to maintain an unbiased approach is part of our career and we need to realize how fortunate we are to serve all of our patients. Working in medicine is a blessing and you have to keep in mind the reason you started – to help others and positively impact your community.
A – Altruism
Working in medicine is a privilege! At the end of the day as providers we need to realize it’s not about YOU. Our purpose is to serve our patients. It’s not about the title you hold or flaunting your credentials.
Set your ego aside, take a step back, and realize your calling in medicine. There is a difference between compassion and empathy. You can feel bad for somebody, but it is another thing to empathize and actually feel what your patient is going through. Our purpose is to help our patients find solutions, not to feed our own ego.
T – Team
Emergency Medicine is a team game. From the Physicians, to the Advanced Practitioners, to the Nurses each member is a valuable asset and need to work cohesively. Even though everyone has different titles you are all working together towards the same goal of providing exceptional care with positive results. If you are a new provider on a team make sure you approach each patient/case with enthusiasm. Remain humble with everything you achieve and remember that every moment is an opportunity to learn and improve.