The Shift’s most-read posts from 2017 ran the gamut, from columns on physician burnout by Vice President of Marketing and Recruiting Dr. Travis Ulmer, to a story by President of USACS East Dr. Angelo Falcone on the responsibilities of physician ownership, to a 4-year-old post on hospital capacity management by Chief of Observation Services Dr. Robbin Dick that continues to be relevant to this day. Topping it off was a profile of one our extraordinary PAs, a former Navy SEAL named Mario Riportella.
Some of these posts caught fire on social media, while others drew their readership from organic search traffic. Still other USACS posts weren’t even published on The Shift at all, but in publications ranging from EM News, to FeminEM, to HealtheCareers. Since we can’t track readership on those posts as closely, we are not including them here, but we have no doubt many of them found an even wider audience throughout the emergency medicine and acute care community.
That said, here are 2017’s most-read posts from The Shift:
#5: A Physicians Group Dedicated to Ownership – And All That It Entails by Angelo Falcone
Some physicians may be directly employed by the hospital they work at. Others may be part of a large, publicly traded group or one owned by a handful of private investors. But a group owned primarily by its physicians is different, says Dr. Falcone, President of USACS East. It means carrying with you the responsibility to care for patients and to look after the business side of medicine. “It’s not always pretty,” Falcone writes. “But preserving the ability for us physicians to control our own destiny means that we must constantly devote attention to balancing the forces in the marketplace with ensuring those resources are directed toward our mission as clinicians to care for patients.”
#4: Hospital Capacity Management II: The Surge by Robbin Dick
This 2013 post on hospital capacity management, by USACS Chief of Observation Services Dr. Robbin Dick, has been one of our most-read each year since it was published (last year, it topped the list at #1). The post’s enduring popularity comes from organic search, evidence that hospital leaders continue to view capacity management as one of their most pressing unsolved problems. Today, Dr. Dick is part of the team leading the implementation of uniquely successful, USACS-style closed observation units for our hospital partners throughout the country.
#3: As Go Your Relationships, So Goes Your Resiliency by Travis Ulmer
There is a lot written about how practicing emergency medicine can have the potential to negatively impact your relationships at home (see below, for example). Less is written about the opposite: how one’s personal relationships can impact an emergency physician’s ability to care for patients. Recounting a talk he heard by Wayne M. Sotile, PhD, who has been studying psychology in physicians for almost 40 years, Dr. Ulmer recounts some examples of how his own relationships have impacted his practice and his career. As Sotile said, the opposite of burnout is resiliency, and resiliency is built at home, by having strong relationships with your friends, your family, and your partner.
#2: The Exact Moment When I Realized I Needed To Change by Travis Ulmer
Here, Dr. Ulmer writes that, as a resident, he was on a path to burnout. He was frustrated by the many patients who he felt were not sick enough to be in the ER, and he wondered whether a different hospital, or a different mix of patients, would better fit his agenda. That’s when he took a USACS patient satisfaction training course, and it changed everything for him. “The purpose ostensibly was to raise patient satisfaction scores, but it should really be called physician satisfaction training,” Ulmer writes. During the course, Ulmer got to see videotape of his interactions with simulated patients, and get feedback on how the encounters made them feel. He realized he needed to change his approach, not only for the patients’ sake, but for his own.
#1: Mario Riportella’s Path from Navy SEAL to US Acute Care Solutions PA by USACS Staff
Mario Riportella’s path from being a Navy SEAL to working as a PA for USACS is indeed incredible, which is perhaps why this was our most-read post for 2017. Riportella was deeply involved in the search and rescue operation in Afghanistan known as Operation Red Wings, which was later dramatized in the film Lone Survivor. Beyond his military service, though, Riportella described how he searched for a company that was comfortable with constant change, as he was, and one that allowed him to operate with some degree of independence. “I was looking for a lot of autonomy,” Riportella said. “I wanted to operate to the maximum of my ability, and USACS has shown they are really committed to that.”