A Day in the Life of a CE: Daniel Schumacher

By Jamiu Busari (@jobusar)

Daniel J. Schumacher (@DRDANSCHUMACHER)
Pediatric emergency physician at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center;
Associate professor of Pediatrics, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine;
Cincinnati, Ohio, USA

Daniel J Schumacher MD, PhD is a pediatric emergency medicine physician and associate professor of pediatrics at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center/University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. A medical educationalist with a research focus resident performance assessment, he has a particular interest in entrustable professional activities and resident sensitive quality measures (quality measures that are important to care and likely done by residents). He shares that while people generally mistakenly assume his clinical job involves mildly ill children presenting to the emergency department, he actually works in a high volume, high acuity emergency department where many sicker children are seen.  In his words,  “While it is terrible for children to seriously ill or injured, I like being the person who is able to help them when this occurs”.

A focus on educational research

Before taking a deep dive into education research, Dan was an associate program director for the pediatric residency program at Boston Children’s Hospital and Boston Medical Center. He confides, “I loved medical education administration when I was an associate program director.  However, I often felt that I did not have the time to really dig into research in that role.  This is what led me to switch gears and focus on medical education research.  This is one of the most rewarding decisions I have ever made in my professional life”.

As a clinician educator, Dan currently spends 80% of his time on education research.  “I have been fortunate to hit on a number of grants over the past few years to make this possible”, he adds. He discloses that while finding grant funding in medical education can be a challenge, he hopes that his experience provides hope for those looking to notable grant funding in medical education.

Coping with competing priorities

Dan spends part of his education research time leading a new educational research unit and education research scholars’ program at his institution.  He estimates he spends around 10% of his time on administrative tasks, with the remaining 70% dedicated to his own research and mentoring others. The remaining 20% of his time is spent working clinically in the pediatric emergency department.

When asked how he copes with several competing priorities, Dan admits it can be a challenge, sharing: “I am not sure that I have a secret solution that I have found for this, but I definitely strive to ensure I have down time and time away from work”. He goes on to add “being able to compartmentalize work at times keeps me fresh, helps me avoid feeling overwhelmed, and ensures I continue to enjoy completing my work”.

Three tips for junior CEs: find your mentor, create new opportunities, and invest in your passion.

Dan shares his best advice for aspiring CEs:

  • Find a mentor who will fully invest in you and put your development ahead of their needs. Ensure they are someone who is committed to making themselves available to you whenever you need them.
  • People will tell you to learn when to say no. This is not bad advice, but I would also learn when to say yes.  Opportunities are given to people who show up, volunteer, and do the work.  These opportunities lead to new opportunities.  Early on, carefully consider saying yes to things that are in the area of your interests even if they are not perfectly aligned with your interests.  Saying yes to some of these things may open the door to opportunities that are perfectly aligned with your interests.
  • Find your passion and invest deeply.

Know a CE who you think we should profile on our blog? Send us your nominations at ice@royalcollege.ca! 

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