Episode 93 – Performing Under Pressure w/Dr. Stephen Hearns


It’s no secret that we as emergency and critical care professionals are expected to perform highly in high pressure situations. Unfortunately, none of us are immune to limited cognitive capacity, task saturation/fixation, time pressure, negative team dynamics, and poor communication. How can we mitigate these variables, so that we can continue to effectively operate in our respective fields? Join us for an insightful podcast episode where Dr. Stephen Hearns explains how.




Dr. Stephen Hearns is a consultant in emergency and aeromedical retrieval medicine. He works with Scotland’s Emergency Medical Retrieval Service. This aeromedical retrieval service delivers pre-hospital critical care for major trauma patients, rural hospital secondary retrievals and major incident responses. Inspired by experience gained working on London’s air ambulance and in Queensland Australia, Stephen led the establishment of this team from a small voluntary service in 2004 to what is now a fully government funded aeromedical retrieval organization with an international reputation.

Stephen has published a number of papers and book chapters relating to emergency medicine and pre-hospital care. He also led the team establishing the Diploma in retrieval and transfer medicine for the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh. He developed and contributes to the organisation of the annual UK retrieval conference. Stephen is an Honorary Senior Lecturer in the University of Glasgow.

His book, Peak Performance Under Pressure, was published in 2019.

He has been an active voluntary member of Arrochar mountain rescue team for 20 years and holds the Mountain Leader Award. Stephen acted as medical officer on seven international expeditions in mountain, desert, jungle and arctic environments before establishing the first expedition medicine course in the UK.

Stephen is attracted to the challenges of emergency medicine in demanding remote environments with limited resources. Stephen’s main interest is optimizing team performance in high pressure situations. He researches, writes and speaks on both of these topics and provides advice to a wide range of commercial and government organizations.

Stephen is a Fellow of:

  • The Royal College of Emergency Medicine

  • The Royal College of Surgeons

  • The Royal College of Physicians

  • The Royal Geographical Society


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