Bouncing Back

By Kathryn Crowley, MD, FACEP

When I was asked to write about resilience in emergency medicine, I had to stop and think about what resilience means. According to the American Psychological Association, resilience is the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or significant sources of stress, or more simply, "bouncing back." Haven't we all had those shifts or weeks where we feel stressed, tired and knocked down? And yet we get back up and do it again and again. Emergency medicine physicians are some of the most resilient individuals. They face significant stressors every day and are often tasked with helping families in their most difficult times.

So what can we do to keep bouncing back.
Here are some ideas:

  • Take time for yourself. Do something you love at least once a week;
  • Get moving. Exercise not only helps your body but strengthens your mind; 

  • Sleep. Be mindful of your circadian rhythm and work with your group to develop a schedule that follows a circadian pattern; 

  • Spend time with your family and friends. Give yourself time to talk about something other than medicine; 

  • Eat. Take 10-15 minutes during your shifts to eat and refuel. You'll be better able to care for your patients if you've eaten. 


We have one of the most stressful but also the most rewarding jobs. Take time to take care of yourself so you can continue to help others in their time of need.

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