WRaP EM is a coalescence of several interfaces in my work-life.
I have had a keen interest in Physician Wellness since an episode of burnout as a second-year trainee in 2002. After an initial flurry of literature review – from which my main skewed “take-home message” at the time was that burnout was a consequence of having high standards and expectations (Go, me!) – my Wellness journey entered a quiescent phase while I completed my training.
Upon becoming a consultant, I made a concerted effort to model positive personal attributes. Over time, as those a few years behind me progressed, I discovered the power of sharing my stories – how training had been a punishment, the perceived helplessness over some system issues, the fear and anxiety over my first consultant Late/On call shift, how bad I had been at early parenthood, how I doubt myself some shifts (most shifts).
I discovered that sharing the stories empowered others – because it confirmed that they were not alone in their struggle. I was surprised to also discover that sharing empowered me – because I was no longer hiding in shame and a sense of inadequacy. And, over time, others started to share their stories with me.
And so I continued on this relatively lone crusade.
Then, a couple of years ago, at a University simulation for medical students, I was introduced to Una Harrington, who was doing a Sim Fellowship at the time. My initial impression was of a warm and energetic person. Little did I realise that within 18 months, we would be staying at an airBNB together, sharing a breakfast of eggs and Irish tea, while we prepared to speak about Physician Wellness at a national EM conference.
Over that 18 months, Una brought together like-minded and similarly-motivated EM doctors as well as other healthcare staff and educators to form a collaborative with the aim of supporting each other to build the profile and substance of Wellness in healthcare.
What WRaP EM has achieved in a short time is the meeting of minds, the fluidity of working with individual strengths, the heady pace of being in the company of those who work in emergency medicine, the credibility that comes with a thoughtful approach, and the creation of a promising, robust, meaningful entity with tangible outputs.
WRaP EM is about creating connection and community. Together we are more than the sum of our parts, and I’m truly honoured to be one of those parts.