The field of emergency medicine is a constantly shifting environment. We are arguably the freshest specialty in the medical house. Collectively, our adaptability is challenged throughout the years from our inception as a niche specialty in the early years, all the way to the recent sweeping legislative changes.

Our field encompasses an ever-broadening spectrum of acute care and our role is truly still being defined. As much as we love our medicine and amazing patient encounters, there is another important side to all of this. One cannot neglect that a business needs to be operated and our lives need to be lived in a healthy way within and outside of the company.

I knew coming out of residency that I wanted to be with a forward thinking group that was big enough to ride the storm of our current medical system and its shifting relationships. I wanted to be in a group that had leverage with hospitals, a proven track record and the right culture. What is the definition of culture in an institution, anyway?

Early on in my professional maturity, it seemed to be as simple as having cool people to work with and someone to have a beer with or play a round of golf with after work. Throughout my growth as a physician so far, I have realized it goes much deeper than that. The fundamental aspects of culture are really somewhat intangible. You can’t quantify attitude.

Culture at US Acute Care Solutions (USACS) is about many people sharing the same vision and work ethos. Servant’s heart, owner’s mind. From the outset, USACS was very clear about its vision. I was exposed to this culture in depth during an excellent orientation before my first shift.

Leadership didn't just tell us about culture, they showed us. Starting with Dr. Bagnoli, CEO, all the way to site directors, everyone posses a unified commitment to excellence. "Servant’s heart. Owner’s mind." means that patients come first. It applies to all things we do within USACS.

Transparency is very important and the books are completely open. Everyone is approachable and engaging because we were all on the same team. It was clear to me early on that USACS has a strong plan for success in the future of our changing landscape. The business model is robust. The details of growth as a company are explained thoroughly. 

In my conversations with multiple USACS physicians and leadership prior to my hire, I felt the presence of this culture. Everyone seemed genuinely happy and proud of the company. It drew me in and eventually landed me my job. The "Servant’s heart. Owner’s mind." mentality is healthy and present in my day-to-day interactions within our close firefighter’s team and our relationships with our site doctors. We are a team, and we support one another.

There are no financial incentives, which dilute this relationship and pit physician against physician like many sites where I interviewed. The RVU mills turned my stomach into knots on my interview trail, as I saw flat affected ED docs barely speaking to one another. God forbid they miss a mark on productivity. I can honestly say that I’m very happy at USACS. When times are tough at work, I know someone with a great attitude is going to show up and carry the torch, focused on helping me get out on time. Someone will show up that I can ask about their kids, or how their latest move into their new house was, how their trip to Mexico was or how their new mountain bike is riding. Happy physicians don’t just happen in our sometimes chaotic, stress-laden, day-to-day grind. It takes work to maintain focus and a great attitude when we’re dealing with the difficult things like we do.

In your search for your first job, make sure you ask about the bigger goals of the company. Think about potential stressors to a healthy workplace. Ask about any contracts the group may have lost and why? Is it a culture problem or a business problem? Sometimes it’s both. Hospitals want great metrics. If they don't get them, more often than not, the contract is going to end. Ask about the metrics at your possible work sites. What are the problems if they aren't meeting them? Culture plays a bigger part in this then you think. The ability to be a good team member has kept metrics at my current site strong. We are all highly motivated and focused on making this happen. You can see how it all ties together.

We need strong support to thrive in this field. I have found this at USACS. Come join our team.