Smitten by emergency medicine,
Now I say that I could never do anything else in my professional life. Maybe I could, but I would never feel it as much as I feel emergency medicine. I deliberately do not say enjoy, because that is only one aspect. It consists of all kind of emotions mixed in a perfect potion that I am still smitten by.
If I want to be completely sincere, and I want to, that was not my first choice. As I walked trough the corridors of medical faculty from my first to last year, I imagined myself as a physician taking care of and traveling with best national athletes. At that time, I used to say: „What a great thing it would be to take care of a healthy body and optimistic mind and make it even greater “. It all had to do with the fact that I myself was into sports all of my life and thought that it would be a bliss to combine my two passions, sport and medicine, in one great professional career. Well...
As I graduated, I was faced with the reality of scarce job opportunities. Not only that I could not do what I so much wanted, I came to realize that I could not get a job at all. That did not discouraged me. I decided to take on a volunteering in emergency medical service. Little did I know how important this step I was taking is.
At first, it was pure imbalance between theory and practice. I had, what I thought to be knowledge and competence. Well, I didn’t know how much I don’t know. I was not competent, I lacked in skills and had no personal experience whatsoever. It didn’t take me long to realize that practicing emergency medicine is so much more than having immense knowledge absorbed during academic years. So, what could I do? As for the skills, I had to practice, so I did. As for the knowledge of managing all kind of life-threatening conditions, I had to read more, so I did. As for the experience, I had to be patient, and I was.
Emergency medical system in my country is mainly based in pre-hospital settings. Teams consists of emergency medicine specialist, medical technician/nurse and ambulance driver who is competent to assist in a team work. Almost nothing is a solo performance in emergency medicine and it is all in a team effort.
It was pure hard work in front of me. I engaged in numerous courses to practice for the time I would be given opportunity to have my one patient. Whenever I was in doubt, I asked my older colleagues for advice. I was not to proud to ask. I continued my learning every single day and I still do. Over years to come I found out that thinking is our most valuable skill. Some beauty in emergency medicine lies in the fact that results of our actions are instant and visible. Sometimes there is nothing beautiful about it, on the contrary, we feel physical and mental pain when we give our best to help and still we lose life of a woman, man or a child. You just have to stay strong and strive to make yourself even more competent.
Our job has nothing to do with luck, and if it did, I suppose it will not let me perform my first CPR at wedding, on a bride’s grandfather, in front of 200 guests. Luck was awake when gun was nearly shot at my team and me. After 16 years, my passion for emergency medicine did not subside. I became emergency medicine specialist in the meantime. My confidence grew but I staid humble. As for luck, maybe I am lucky after all, I get to have the most rewording job that I love and it does not feel as a second best. It feels like the best ever!
Dušica Janković, Serbia
Smitten by emergency medicine,