University of Mississippi, Jackson, MS
The ACGME Review Committee for Emergency Medicine (RC-EM) provides high-level oversight of EM residency programs – a role that is especially key during this season of transition to a single accreditation system. Eric McDonald, a second-year resident at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, will be the voice of residents on the RC-EM, taking over for Leonard Stallings, MD, whose term closes this year. Dr. McDonald brings to the role his unique perspective as a firefighter, EMT, and paramedic who is now pursuing a career as a physician.
What’s your primary goal in your new role with EMRA and the ACGME?
My primary role is simple. I want to make resident voices heard. I want to remind our current leaders that we are more than just students. We are the future physician workforce and leaders of our field and our country.
Describe your leadership style in 20 words or less.
I believe that leading is nothing more than understanding and utilizing the many strengths of those around you.
If your fellow residents picked a motto for you, what would it be?
Work hard, have fun, be friends, and when that doesn’t work–use your dad voice.
Favorite life-balancing hack?
As a husband, father of 7, and physician in training, there are many important things in my life. Priorities are key! Without having my priorities in line, things could go haywire quickly.
Respecting HIPAA, tell us about your most memorable patient encounter.
Years ago, as a paramedic, I was transferring a sweet older lady from a rural county hospital to a cardiac center having an enormous myocardial infarction. The hospital she presented to was nothing more than a critical access facility understaffed and under equipped to care for her. She was in pain. She felt as though she was going to die. I went into action quickly. I found myself scurrying to perform every maneuver, trick, and technique that I’d learned to possibly help her. Nothing worked. It wasn’t until I sat down and talked to her, let her know that I cared for her, and learned of her 30+ year career as a school teacher that things changed. Her heart rate slowed. Her pain eased. It was then that I learned the importance of compassion. It was then that I learned there is more to being a provider than books, studying, medications, and procedures.
Best advice you’ve ever heard?
From an elderly friend – “Would you rather be my age and say ‘What if I had?’ or ‘I tried that and it wasn’t for me’?”
What goes on pizza?
All of the meat and cheese, although it’s hard to mess up pizza.
Wine, beer, coffee, water or something else?
I’ve certainly had all of the available choices and they serve their purpose, but coffee and water are fundamental parts of my day. Coffee, because I’m a resident and father of 7. Water, because I have to drink something other than coffee and it’s free.
Most-used app on your phone?
Last song stuck in your head?
“Just Be Held” – Casting Crowns