Here is a report I wrote after I attended my first conference, full of enthusiasm and caffeine. However it led me to create this website so some of it must of stuck.
March 26, 2018
I have never been to a conference before, they didn’t particularly appeal to me despite being an unashamed ED nerd. I don’t find a lecture a fantastic way to learn and I turn my nose up at networking. Which is why it seemed strange decision to fly halfway round the world on my own to go to a field with 150 people I have never met to talk about emergency medicine in Africa. This turned out to be the best educational decision I have ever made. I want to thank Sarah Hall (a bona fide supermentor) right from the get go for encouraging and helping me apply to the Worthing educationally body, who helped fund this unparalleled experience.
To explain a bit about the festival for those who just thought I was off on a jolly to South Africa (he says as he looks over a view of table mountain). It was set up by a group of enthusiastic Emergency doctors based in cape town- they produce free online resources under the tittle “brave African discussion in Emergency medicine”- BADEM (not dissimilar to our em-wsht.org). They decided to get a group of people passionate about this topic together. But the simple genius was to do this in a beautiful location in the mountains 90 minutes out of town. Talks were in a Bedouin tent , questions were around a campfire, wilderness simulation was in the actual wilderness, the ultrasound machines were convenient close to the bar (I didn’t think I would be able to combine love of whisky and scanning) and we slept in the poshest tent I could imagine.
What made this experience so special is the equality and community this set up established. I learnt from people of different grades, professions and nationalities and all hours of the day and night. We learnt together, swam together and drunk together. I asked a criminologist about causes of drug epidemics over lunch, a Lithuanian EM registrar the technical details of filming resus cases over dinner and a paeds EM consultant about kindness around a campfire. Most importantly I felt I belonged. These are my people, I am not quite sure who we are but I know what we do. We try and make things better for acutely unwell people and it doesn’t matter if I am in Worthing or Western cape. These are my people and this is what we do. There a several specific lessons I need to digest, consolidate and share and I hope to do this over the upcoming weeks.