Medical Anesthesia Group’s, Emily Coursey, Notes it’s about More Than Surgery

Mar 17, 2024 at 10:34 pm by pjeter



As one of the newest board members of the Memphis Medical Society (MMS), Emily Coursey, MD, is excited about collaborating across professional disciplines to promote stronger relationships between lawmakers, healthcare providers and patients.

Reinvesting in her community is a passion for Coursey, who was born in Memphis, grew up in Corinth, Mississippi, earned an engineering degree from Ole Miss and an M.D. from the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson. She spent years crisscrossing the country, gaining experience and expertise in medical facilities from on both coasts before returning to her native Mid-South for a position with Medical Anesthesia Group (MAG) in Memphis.

Coursey, who joined MAG in 2017, rotates between several Memphis-area medical facilities as an anesthesiology physician. She’s proud of the patient service she and her colleagues provide and of the work done by the medical professionals affiliated with the MMS.

“The Memphis Medical Society is doing great things in our community, including working for legislative advocacy and increasing communication in clinical practices,” Coursey said. “I want to help continue that by talking with legislators to find ways to bridge the gaps between provider settings and hospitals and practice areas.”

Growing up in Corinth, Coursey knew from an early age that she wanted to go to med school, but her parents convinced her to pursue an engineering degree in undergraduate school as a backup in case a future in healthcare wasn’t in the cards. And while studying medicine turned out to be all she’d imagined, Coursey is grateful for her years studying general engineering.

“Engineering taught me to think in ways I otherwise wouldn’t have been geared toward,” Coursey said. “It gave me a wonderful foundation for learning and developing a greater sense of attention to detail that has served me well in anesthesiology.”

As much as she loves anesthesiology now, when Coursey first entered med school she planned on becoming a primary care physician, either devoting her career to pediatrics or family practice. But a rotation in surgery exposed her to the possibilities of anesthesia and she was hooked.

“I fell in love with how anesthesiology allows you to make a difference in one setting – you see the immediate results of your work right there and it offered me the opportunity to take care of the whole person in the medical surgical theater,” Coursey said. “I also loved that anesthesia is real medicine where efficiency is vital and valued and I find it incredibly rewarding every single day.”

Coursey met her future husband when he was in the Navy and the two married when she was doing her internship and residency in Seattle. From there the couple moved to Virginia, where Coursey worked in a private practice, followed by a stint in Florida where she worked as an anesthesiologist and taught in the University of Florida’s residency program.

Coursey’s last stop before Memphis was in the Washington, D.C. area at time when some sectors of the medical community were being heavily scrutinized.

“I arrived in D.C. when the opioid epidemic was really coming into focus and tremendous attention was being paid to the responsible use of anesthesia,” Coursey said. “I worked at a center with patients, and it was an incredibly rewarding and educational experience to be there in this profession at that period when so much was coming to light and changing.”

After several years in the Mid-Atlantic, Coursey’s husband retired from the Navy and the two decided to return to the Mid-South to be closer to family. She accepted a position with Medical Anesthesiology Group, which covers seven surgery centers in the Memphis area.

The move, Coursey said, has been the best one yet.

“I enjoy being back in this area and reconnecting with people from different eras of my life.” Coursey said. “It seems like every other day or so I see a patient who’s a friend of my parents or maybe is the parent or relative of one of my friends from school. There’s something special about taking care of people from the community you know and love.”

Looking ahead, Coursey said she’s eager to embrace new developments in anesthesia and to providing state-of-the art care, not only for patients in the Memphis metro area, but also for those who come here because of the excellent healthcare services available.

“Anesthesiologists are known for early adoption of technological breakthroughs, and that’s apparent in surgical centers across the city,” Coursey said. “Evolutions in surgical procedures and anesthesia allow us to work more cooperatively than ever before.”

Coursey believes the trend toward transitioning to more outpatient care will continue to grow, providing greater efficiency for medical personnel and less disruption for patients.

For example, she said in years past patients were often required to arrive at hospitals the night before surgery to prep for procedures the following day. Following surgeries, patients spent longer periods in medical settings before returning home.

Today, medical advances have improved the landscape, Coursey said, allowing for greater flexibility and quicker healing. And while anesthesiologists provide services that patients may not remember, the importance of their work can’t be overstated.

“Patients may not always realize the extent of the role that anesthesiologists play in the hospital, but there’s more to this job than putting people to sleep and waking them up,” Coursey said. “We’re continually refining our skills by learning about new surgical techniques and adapting to medical innovations. The OR may be the only place you see us, but it’s not the only place you need us.”