How I Work Smarter: Rodney Fullmer, DO, MBS
One word that best describes how you work?
Current mobile device
Samsung Galaxy 9 (sorry not an apple/mac guy)
PC- Dell XPS
What is something you are working on now?
I am working on two very cool education projects right now within our ED.
- I am creating a new curriculum for our senior ED residents at Swedish called MastER’s Class. The curriculum aims to prepare senior ED residents for life post-residency; looking at everything from contracts, litigation, finances, wellness, the business side of EM, job opportunities outside of the ED, and many more.
- Resident T-ED talks. Swedish ED residents give mini-talks/lectures to our ED nursing staff on varying topics. Some examples: talk on a metric that our ED could be doing better on, how to debrief as an ED better, or winter is coming so look out for frostbite and CO poisoning. Our staff loves these and I have needed to expand the scope and number of times the lecture is produced. So I recently bought my first microphone and downloaded editing software. We are now recording the lecture and mini wrap-up, starting a mini podcast-like series for our staff to be able to listen to our T-ED talks whenever they want.
How did you come up with this Idea/Project?
Project #1 came to me after listening to my residents and remembering my anxiety of becoming an attending. I realized there was so much I didn’t know about the other aspects of being an ED attending besides seeing patients. I wanted to make sure my residents were as best informed as possible prior to graduation or had the toolset to seek out their own answers. Enter, social media for the title idea of MastER’s Class.
Project #2 This is a project that has blossomed after talking to Dr. Tarlan Hedayati. I built it off an idea she was using at Cook County and expanded the scope. It has snowballed from there! Kudos to a colleague, Dr. Tarlan Hedayati for her inspiration.
What’s your office workspace setup like?
I am lucky enough to have a hospital office (not using much during Covid) and a home office that I split with my wife who works from home full time. But, honestly, my kitchen island gets the most action! I am a firm believer that a laptop, a good playlist, and headphones can help make any space a workspace.
What’s your best time-saving tip in the office or home?
Decrease distraction and set yourself up for success. I don’t work near a TV, I turn my cellphone to vibrate and avoid social media. Lastly, I set myself up with a good cup of coffee and workspace that isn’t cluttered with distractions and has just what I need for the project I am currently working on ( post-its, highlighter, book, microphone, etc.) Don’t forget to take breaks to keep you fresh- use this time to get out of the chair and check your social media if you can’t resist!
What’s your best time-saving tip regarding email management?
Google nudge is a great new tool I use for a follow-up! I use my Google calendar to set reminders as well for follow-up or reminders for email. I leave my emails marked as “unread” until I have responded or completed that task, using the bold font as my reminder that I need to do something with that specific email.
What apps do you use to keep yourself organized?
Google everything! Google Keep #1, Calendar #2, and Assistant #3. I use what I call “dead space time” to do other things. For example, I listen to a mini-podcast on local and world news events and “this day in history” (history buff) while getting ready. Makes brushing your teeth or showering informative! The same with driving. Medical podcasts fill my speakers while driving or when I go for a run. Often, I will have a great idea or something that needs follow-up while driving so I use Google voice assistant to set reminders for me. Google Keep is my online notepad and external brain. I can open my notes from any device. If you really want to know what’s going on in my mind, Google Keep will tell you everything. I use these apps to keep organized so I can cognitively off-load tasks. This clears my head and lets me focus and be more productive.
How do you stay up to date with resources?
- I use Twitter to catch up on the FOAMed community and CME. Something I learned from Salim Rezaie about Twitter is to only follow a few specific accounts when it comes to FOAMed and education sources.
- Mini podcasts (5 minutes or less) keep me up to date on current events. My day starts with “OK google read me the news”… This Day in History by the History Channel, NPR News Now, followed by a local Chicago news update.
- Crowdsourcing: My Swedish ED residents keep me on my toes. It seems every week one of my residents asks me about a new journal article or FOAMed piece. I find myself adding it to my read list on Google keep. For years, my residency class has kept a running messenger feed that we started when we were in residency and continues to this day. It always has knowledge bombs and great GIFs.
What’s your best time-saving tip in the ED?
The ED needs to run like a restaurant: Always know where your patients are in their work-up. Anticipate! You have a really good idea who is going to get admitted and discharged after the initial H/P. Start your discharge instructions when you sit down to write your initial note on the patients you anticipate sending home. Know that the ED is a team sport so cognitively off-load where you can. Use your techs and nurses to help you with tasks. Have them double check on why a lab result hasn’t come back or if you’ll need vitals every 15 minutes for the next hour, can they complete these and let me know if BP or Heart rate is X? Closed-loop communication is key.
ED charting: Macros or no macros?
Macros! But carefully. As an educator, I see where Macros can and do go wrong. I built my own macros so I know everything that is them. I try to always do my focused PE the same way every time which matches the flow of my Macro. I can then quickly edit the pertinent positives/negatives or remove any part of the macro that wasn’t completed.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received about work, life, or being efficient?
- Residency is a sprint but being an Attending is a Marathon
- Be kind to everyone
- Most recently during the pandemic: Find balance, set boundaries, protect your wellness
What advice would you give other doctors who want to get started, or who are just starting out?
Say Yes. Be willing to volunteer for projects, lectures, or leadership roles, even if you feel under-qualified. Keep doors open by saying yes to these opportunities, as you may find your niche’. Be a sponge and soak up the knowledge you personally learn from each experience and tuck it away- you may not use that knowledge on your next project or leadership opportunity but it will come in handy sometime in the future. Get involved and be engaged in whatever you are involved in. Lastly, be kind and don’t burn bridges, always leave on good terms when an opportunity ends. It’s a small world out there.
Is there anything else you’d like to add that might be interesting to readers?
Make sure to have mentors (more than one and for different parts of your life) aka your boardroom. Also, make sure you have someone that can give you honest, impartial feedback.
Who would you love for us to track down to answer these same questions?
- Sean Dyer @SpyderEM
- Tarlan Hedayati @HedayatiMD
- Michael Gottlieb @MGottliebMD
Read other How I Work Smarter posts, sharing efficiency tips and life advice.
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