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Pardon Me for Being a Wallflower

Woman standing in front of a wall holding flowers.

The field of emergency medicine tends to attract outgoing individuals who enjoy engaging with their environment and don’t mind taking risks. This type of person is generally considered to be an extrovert. But this doesn’t mean that introverts don’t exist in the field of emergency medicine. GW faculty member Janice Blanchard, MD, Ph.D explores the importance of introverts in the field of emergency medicine in a reflection piece published in Academic Emergency Medicine

A key difference between introverts and extroverts is the source from which they get energy. Does being in a room filled with other people make you feel energized? Or are you exhausted and zapped of energy by the time you leave the room? Blanchard summarizes this difference by stating that “introverts thrive from the energy within, whereas extroverts are fueled from the spark of others.” 

Introverts recharge their internal battery with “me time” and extroverts recharge by being social. While attending a large emergency medicine conference recently where “frequent social interactions with colleagues was the norm,” Blanchard explains that “at the end of the day, I felt absolutely exhausted.”

While not much has been written about physicians and introversion, especially within the specialty of emergency medicine, Blanchard provides some insight that could help introverts thrive in the extroverted field of emergency medicine. Because introverts tend to be great listeners, their “leadership skills shine through the implementation of input gathered from each individual within that team.” 

Although there are differences in the way introverts and extroverts operate, both play vital roles in the world and within the field of emergency medicine. While the extrovert tends to be a dominant personality characteristic within emergency medicine, Blanchard reminds us that “there is room for both in our specialty.”


Blanchard J. (2019). Pardon Me for Being a Wallflower. Academic emergency medicine: official journal of the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine, 10.1111/acem.13894.

Photo by NordWood Themes on Unsplash

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