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Lead Runner

Resident Mary Tanski Keeps One Step Ahead of the Next Emergency

By Steve Goldstein

Emergency medicine is unpredictable. Emergency medicine at the George Washington University Hospital is really unpredictable, as third-year resident Mary Tanski, M.D., discovered.

Mary Tanski
Mary Tanski, M.D., third-year resident, Emergency Medicine

“You never know who or what’s going to come through the door,” she said during a break from the rigorous pace. “You get to treat patients from all walks of life, with every disease process. In one bed there might be a VIP and in the next there might be a person from a medically underserved community. It keeps it interesting.”

The Detroit-area native and graduate of Michigan State University and Wayne State University School of Medicine always seems to be on her toes, whether she’s treating patients or representing her fellow residents on various committees.

Tanski is one of two co-chairs of the Residents Committee, which is responsible for bringing residents’ concerns to the attention of the administration. And, as the residents’ representative on the Medical Executive Committee, she is also charged with presenting these concerns to the committee of attending physicians and board members. “It’s very interesting to hear about long-term plans at the hospital. My participation in the meetings gives the residents a voice in discussions about the future of GW Medicine,” she said.

As of July 1, Tanski will be one of three chief residents for the Emergency Department. The chief residents are in charge of everything from residents’ schedules to new intern orientation and social activities.

As of July, Mary Tanski, M.D., will be one of three chief residents for the Emergency Department, in charge of everything from residents’ schedules to new intern orientation.

According to Robert Shesser, M.D., chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine in GW’s School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Tanski “was the unanimous choice of the faculty and her peers to be one of our chief residents. She has become an excellent clinician who communicates well with patients, nurses, and physicians and has demonstrated excellent administrative and problem solving skills.”

The stress of emergency medicine has never been too much for Tanski, whose devotion to running helps keep her both sane and slim. “If you’re working with a good team, it makes it all manageable,” she added.

Tanski has envisioned her life as a physician since she was in seventh grade, when she wrote a report on Ben Carson, M.D., a fellow Michigan native and an internationally renowned neurosurgeon. “His story was so inspiring. From that moment, I knew I wanted to do this,” she said.

Her dedication hasn’t strayed since. Following her residency, Tanski is aiming for an administrative fellowship. “I’m really concerned about quality improvement and patient satisfaction,” she said. “It’s definitely my career path.”

Shesser hopes that path will also include positions of leadership.

“I sincerely hope that she chooses academic medicine as a career because she has the potential to make a tremendous impact on future generations of physicians,” he said.