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#SMACCGold Reflections. @docib joins @St.Emlyn’s


@docib on the left knows where to look….

A few days ago I returned home to the UK from Australia after a brief sojorn in Hong Kong and it’s time to think back and consider what SMACCGold meant to me and to ask myself just why it felt so different. Rather surprisingly, perhaps, the person who best summed SMACC Gold up in my mind wasn’t one of the high profile speakers, it wasn’t even another clinician, but one of the waiting staff in the conference venue.

What are you all?” she asked me

What do you mean?” asked I

“Well, we have all sorts of conferences here: Real Estate agents; Pharmaceutical companies; big businesses, but you all seem different. You are all so kind”


@docib speaking on Chronic Pain

To me, this encapsulated perfectly what this conference was all about and that an “outsider” could spot this spoke volumes. The blogosphere has been overwhelmed, unsurprisingly, by articles extolling just how amazing this event was, which to a non attendee may seem like unnecessary hyperbole. This reaction, I believe, wasn’t because of the high quality of the presentations or the flamboyance of the opening ceremony, but because it felt like you were in a room full of compassionate, passionate, caring, like minded friends. It was an environment where adrenalized procedures were discussed, but the most memorable moments were spent talking about the most difficult issues we face and when personal stories were interwoven with education. In amongst the bravado and humour speakers weren’t afraid to give a little of themselves and this instilled genuine feeling of warmth and friendship throughout the auditorium. The conferences badges worn by all, stated only the wearer’s name, with no mention of grade, speciality or even profession. A chance conversation in the queue for coffee could be had with a paramedic student or a professor of emergency medicine and each was equally valuable and enjoyable, giving different insights into the strange world of critical care that we all inhabit.

As I read through the numerous blogs and twitter comments after the conference I am struck by a feeling of sadness that I didn’t get the opportunity to meet more of the delegates, but reassured that these relationships can grow over the next year leading up to SMACCUS in Chicago. Many who don’t use social media scoff at those who do, believing it to be superficial and an escape from reality, but it turns out, that in my opinion, the opposite is true. When meeting, in person, some of those whose comments I had read online the usual barriers were immediately broken down, allowing more meaningful friendships to develop in a shorter time. The use of Twitter also allowed real time audience interaction with speakers making them seem less distant and more accessible. This wasn’t didactic learning, but a conversation between colleagues who care.

So, what will I take back to work in the ED as I attempt re-entry into society? Perhaps that we will all always have a lot to learn, but that by treating our colleagues as friends and patients as if they were family our ability to care will always be greater. It’s not what we know that is important, but who we are.

Iain Beardsell


Cite this article as: Iain Beardsell, "#SMACCGold Reflections. @docib joins @St.Emlyn’s," in St.Emlyn's, March 31, 2014,

Posted by Iain Beardsell

Dr Iain Beardsell. MBChB (Birm), DipIMC (RCS Ed), FRCEM is section lead for podcasts and Lesson Plans. Editorial Board Member St Emlyn’s blog and podcast. He is a Consultant in Emergency Medicine at University Hospital Southampton and a Consultant in Pre Hospital Emergency Medicine. Iain qualified in 1998 and over the past 20 years has trained and practiced medicine in major teaching hospitals both in the UK and overseas. He has been a consultant at University Hospital Southampton for the past thirteen years, including a three year term as the unit’s Clinical Director. UHS is the main Major Trauma Centre for the South Coast region of England as well as the eighth largest hospital in the UK. Iain is also a highly regarded advisor to television medical dramas, including Casualty and Good Karma Hospital. An acclaimed speaker, Iain has spoken at international conferences in Australia, Ireland, Austria and Germany as well as across the UK. You will find him on twitter as @docib

  1. […] Iain Beardsell (@docib) on St. Emlyn’s Blog […]


  2. Nicely written Ian – its all about connectivity, shared conversations and love – formour patients and for wanting to be ‘better’ in clinical medicine

    I look forward to watching your talk when it is released as part of the smacc feed; with so many good concurrents, impossible to attend all.

    Good to catch up BTW – you really are a funny man…


  3. […] #SMACCgold reflections – Ian Beardsell, now of St Emlyn’s […]


  4. Thanks for capturing the spirit of SMACC so eloquently Iain, and thanks for contributing to smaccGOLD’s success.
    Chris, SMACC co-organiser


  5. Very nicely said – it’s all about compassion and empathy between people. Agreeing with kangorobeach you are really funny :). Keep it up!
    Best regards


  6. Nicely said and yes it;s all about compassion and empathy between people. Agreeing with kangoroobeach you are a funny man :). Keep it up
    Best regards


  7. […] been so nice to each other, you can almost palpate the love. We’ve had stories of staff from the conference venue being perplexed at who we might be because we’re all such wonderful people. Having listened in open mouthed […]


  8. […] #SMACCGold Reflections by @docib […]


  9. […] After I stood up to speak the next 20 minutes flew by in a bit of a blur. I know it wasn’t perfect but it seemed to go ok. People laughed at the jokes and not many left before the end as far as I could tell. I gave it my all, so that as I came to the final few slides I was emotional exhausted. I had a distant memory of someone once saying that “so long as the beginning and ending are good, it doesn’t matter what goes in the middle”, but as the last slide came up I could feel myself cracking a little, having to hold back tears. It had been a long journey to get there, not just the plane flight, or the months preparing, but the years of trying to help someone with chronic pain and trying to understand it myself. Determined not to cry (we were in Australia for heaven’s sake) I got to the end as best I could and headed to my chair. As I passed him Simon smiled and mouthed something that I think was complimentary and I sat down elated. It was done. It had gone ok. And now for me, SMACC Gold could really start….. […]


  10. […] Iain Beardsell (@docib) on St. Emlyn’s Blog […]


  11. […] Beardsell eloquently captures the essence of SMACC in his post #SMACCGold Reflections. @docib joins @St.Emlyn’s while Anand Senthi serves up FOAM Eye-catchers 7: smaccGOLD Highlights […]


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