How I Work Smarter: A Qualitative Analysis of Emergency Physicians’ Strategies for Clinical and Non-clinical Productivity Academic Article uri icon

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  • Introduction Emergency physicians' (EP) clinical and professional non-clinical environments can be stressful and lead to burnout. However, some EPs thrive in these environments. To date, there is limited research investigating the strategies that successful EPs use to be maximally productive. Methods A snowball sampling technique was used to identify peer-nominated EPs who were, within their community of practice, subjectively felt to be successful and efficient. Participants answered a standardized set of questions addressing their efficiency patterns that were published as part of the "How I Work Smarter" blog series on the Academic Life in Emergency Medicine website. Two reviewers performed an inductive qualitative thematic analysis to code and summarize their responses and develop a thematic framework that described patterns of EP productivity. Results Two themes, communication and efficiency, were applicable in the clinical and non-clinical arenas. Location and environment was a major theme in the non-clinical arena. The themes task management and prioritization, tools for wellness, and motivators spanned both environments. Each theme included several strategies that were felt by the respondents to improve productivity and efficiency. Conclusion We described a thematic framework of productivity strategies for EPs that may increase productivity, improve work-life balance, and decrease burnout. EPs interested in increasing their efficiency both within and beyond the clinical area may consider adopting these strategies.


  • Azan, Benjamin
  • Innes, Marilyn E
  • Thoma, Brent
  • Lin, Michelle
  • Van Duyvendyk, Alex
  • Poonja, Zafrina
  • Chan, Teresa

publication date

  • April 18, 2019

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