Interview - Dr David Peak

Please describe your typical day

Easier to describe a typical working week. A week for an Emergency consultant normally involves 4 days per week with 3 of these as clinical shifts and 1 as a "non-clinical "day. Regarding the clinical shifts - these are 10hr shifts with typically 2 of them as day shifts (0800-1800hrs) and 1 as an afternoon shift (1600-0100hrs). I work 1 in 4 weekends (either day or afternoon shifts) but when working the weekend I work 1 less day the week either side of the weekend to compensate. Clinical shifts are very busy and involve supervising junior staff, managing bed state and flow issues in the department, and ensuring early identification and management of critically unwell patients in the department. A large amount of time is spent on education and on -floor training. Non-clinical days are spent performing administration roles within the department and time is provided for ongoing medical education.

What are the types of cases you typically see?

Cases are very varied and cover the full spectrum of medical and surgical illness from resuscitation of critically unwell patients through to social issues. I love that Emergency medicine is unpredictable. A very broad range of knowledge and procedural skills are required and utilised.

What do you like about working in Emergency Medicine and about working in the Auckland Region?

I like that working hours are protected and when not at work I am not on call. This enables clear planning for life outside medicine. With shift work I get a lot of time off midweek and during the day which is great if you have young children or hobbies outside of medicine. I do a standard 40 hr week and my work environment is very social-I am surrounded by other people and am part of a clear team. Working in the Auckland region consultant numbers are such that procurement of annual leave and leave for continuing medical education is easy.

How many teaching hours do you provide to your RMOs each week?

Training RMO's get departmental CME (2 hrs a week) and part one or part 2 College exam preparation (2 hrs a week) as protected "off -floor" teaching and frequent on-floor teaching and feedback- unlike many other specialties the consultant is present and working alongside the RMO's on all shifts.

What opportunities are there for RMO professional development?

RMO's have departmental CME weekly sessions and simulation training in addition to on-floor teaching. There is a well established regional Emergency Medicine training programme with structured part 1 and 2 exam preparation. In addition there are various courses which are recommended as part of ongoing training eg APLS, EMST.

What interested you about this specialty?

I liked the variety of case-mix in Emergency Medicine and the social aspect to the work. I like that I am the first medical interaction in a patient's journey and enjoy the initial diagnostic challenge and the fact that I get to institute initial treatment. Emergency medicine is a very hands-on specialty and I enjoy the procedural side of practice. I have a very limited attention span and am not ideally suited to continuity of care- my patients are either discharged or admitted to an inpatient team.

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time for leisure activities?

I have a variety of interests outside medicine including surfing,tennis, and skiing. I spend a lot if my spare time with my children. Emergency medicine affords the ability to work part-time.


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