Blake Denley, MD | Ochsner Health | New Orleans, La. | President-Elect
What are the most pressing issues facing EM?
I’ll pick three things: burnout, workforce, and scope creep.
Burnout: Many people saw Medscape’s report this year that had EM with the highest rate of burnout among all specialties that participated in the survey. It’s a concerning statistic, but it’s not surprising given what our specialty has been through over the past few years. However, it doesn’t mean that you have to be burnt out or that things can’t/won’t get better. In the pressure cooker that is medical education and working as an emergency physician in general, too often the conversations surrounding burnout are all about building resiliency. However, at some point the work environments and experiences create a pressure so high that it can’t be contained with more resiliency. That is why I think more efforts need to address the systemic issues that continue to put us under more and more pressure. I will note that on the topic of resiliency, I believe finding purpose and fulfillment is the best protector against burnout, which is why I find involvement in EMRA so meaningful.
Workforce/Residency Growth: This is currently the hot topic, and by the time this edition of EMResident is published, we should have new, updated data regarding the surplus estimates. I think the continual growth of current residencies and addition of new residencies are big issues without easy or obvious fixes, but I am confident EM will get through these hard years a stronger, more thriving specialty, and I’m excited to play a role in our development.
Scope Creep/Devaluation of Physicians: To me, scope creep and independent practice reflect a devaluation of physicians. It is, most importantly, a threat to patient safety, especially in the emergency department. Additionally, it is a threat to physicians in many ways. We must continue fighting for physician-led and physician-supervised care in all EDs, and we need to be more proactive with providing our own legislation rather than always being on the defensive.
How can EMRA members make a difference?
GET INVOLVED. EMRA has so many amazing leadership, educational, and networking opportunities through our committees and other programming. If you have a passion, we’ll help you pursue it. If you don’t know what your passion is, we can help with that too! Now sure where to start? Check out the “Be Involved” tab on emra.org or reach out directly to me at email@example.com.
How do you recharge after a tough shift?
I can go down a few routes for this one, but the top of the list would include either a nap or some quality time with my fiance and golden retriever.
What is something people don't know about you?
I am a former world champion jump-roper. Feel free to YouTube me for some old videos!
One skill you want but don't have (yet):
I want to speak Spanish fluently one day. I spent a few months in Ecuador studying Spanish before medical school, and I did a Medical Spanish elective in Mexico my fourth year. Unfortunately, I haven’t kept up with studying, but I’m not giving up on the goal!
One skill you could do without:
My ability to eat an incessant amount of desserts.
Favorite follow on social:
All of the local plant shops in New Orleans.