Reflecting on emergency medicine

For Associate Professor Anna Holdgate, a lot has changed in emergency medicine over the last 30 years.

A Sydney-based emergency physician with a distinguished record in Australasian emergency medicine as a researcher, teacher and mentor, it will be these changes that she will reflect on as a keynote speaker the 35th Annual Scientific Meeting (ASM) in Perth later this year.

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Early Bird Registration is open for the ASM, themed ‘On the Edge’. Join us 18-22 November in Perth where we explore the multiple different facets of life in emergency medicine.
Check out the program and further details on the ASM website.

Constant change

“I will reflect on what is new and what is not, what has changed and what has not, and what has changed back to where it was when I started my career,” Associate Professor Holdgate says.
“I will be looking at changes in clinical practice, changes in culture and behaviour in emergency medicine, and the changes in educational techniques and strategies.
“And evidence to support those changes, or whether there is in fact any evidence to support some of those changes. It is sometimes fashion as much as evidence that shapes what we do.”
Associate Professor Holdgate, who is a Senior Staff Specialist at Liverpool and Sutherland Hospitals, added changes she had witnessed and experienced in emergency medicine have not necessarily always been for the better.
“Some [changes] are [for the better] and some aren’t,” she said. “And some probably really don’t make much difference.
“It is very important when there is change to think if it’s of proven benefit and a useful thing to do, or whether it is just change for the sake of change but doesn’t actually make much difference.
“One of the important messages I want people to think about is that just because something has changed doesn’t necessarily make it better, and we need to keep critical thinking continuing even as things change.”

And what are some of the specific changes she will comment on?
Associate Professor Holdgate teasingly says that you will have to be at the ASM to find out.

Bringing everyone together
“Sharing information is one of the key dynamics behind emergency medicine,” Associate Professor Holdgate says when asked why events like the ASM are important.
“Of all the specialities it is probably the one that requires team work at the highest level and that the experience of people from a whole lot of different places both geographically and demographically makes a huge difference to your own practice.”
Associate Professor Holdgate, who was awarded the ACEM Teaching Excellence award in 2013 and a recipient of the John Gilroy Potts award for research in 2014, says she loved the “variety of practice” in emergency medicine.
“It’s an opportunity to see people from all walks of life and also an opportunity to interact with junior doctors and help shape their careers into the future, their clinical thinking, and hopefully develop their critical thinking skills to have a long-lasting influence on their future clinical practice,” she said.