2023 Top Doctor: Svetlana Reznikova-Steinway, M.D.

Editorial StaffMarch 1, 2023
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Photography by Steve Craft
Photography by Steve Craft

Emergency Medicine

Med School/Year Graduated: University of Arizona, 2006

Years in Practice: 14

To laymen like us, emergency medicine seems like the most adrenaline-intensive field in health care. True? 

It sure can be at times. Treating patients who present in critical condition after a trauma or resuscitating a critically ill patient can be pretty intense. But most of the time is spent caring for patients that don’t require that level of care.

Do you think some physicians are more temperamentally suited to the ER than others? 

Generally speaking, there is a certain personality for those who work in the ER. Being able to multitask and handle frequent interruptions, and working variable schedules including nights, weekends, early mornings and holidays are just a few specifics of our specialty. 

How do you remain calm and effective in such a stressful environment?

It’s actually very important for us to stay as calm as possible during the craziest moments in our job. As the leader of the room, the other staff models this behavior, and that creates an environment that allows for effective patient care. It’s not always easy to be calm, however – we’re just humans, after all. 

What medical skills typically come to bear in the ER? It seems like you’d need a little of everything.

True, we have to be knowledgeable in many areas of medicine. Our training includes placing breathing tubes, inserting chest tubes, suturing wounds, reducing fractures and dislocations, and treating infections. And that’s just to name a few. While we don’t perform surgery, we have to know enough about surgery, cardiology and other specialties to be able to evaluate patients who present with different conditions as well as complications. Part of my job is communicating with doctors from other specialties and ensuring patients get the right follow-up care.

You speak Russian! How often do you use it in your practice?

I do, but don’t get to use it as much as there are not many Russian-speaking patients at the ER where I practice primarily. However, I have been able to use it more lately while doing some humanitarian work in eastern Poland for Ukrainian refugees.

How do you decompress after a tough day at work?

I enjoy coming home to spend time with my wonderful husband, three children and our dog. Exercise, reading and cooking for family and friends are some of my favorite activities after work.

Has any TV show or movie accurately depicted the ER?

Funny enough, Scrubs is actually pretty accurate in showing the relationships between doctors as they train in residency to become physicians. While parts of the show are goofy, some of the cases are realistic.

“If I wasn’t a doctor, I’d be…”

I really enjoy practicing medicine and taking care of people. That being said, I can certainly see myself working with an organization such as Jewish Family and Children’s Services (JFCS) helping refugees to settle and succeed in their new lives – just as they helped my family when we came to the United States as refugees in the 1990s.