A lot of us have been to the emergency room (ER) once in our life. Whether for a broken limb or a fever that just won’t break or fatal injuries from an accident, the ER has been home to its fair share of hair-raising personal stories.
What is an Emergency Medicine Doctor?
Emergency medicine doctors work in the emergency department and are the first line of medical professionals to provide instant care. So, when you broke your arm or your grandparent suffered a heart attack, instant care at the hospital in each case was provided by an emergency medicine doctor to stabilize the patient’s condition. In the first case, you can be treated and released from the emergency room by the emergency doctor, however, the heart attack patient is admitted to the hospital after first aid is provided to monitor and assess his situation and further treatment.
What does an Emergency Medical Doctor do?
Although emergency medicine doctors are not specialists, they are trained in general injury care. The primary aim is to provide first aid and stabilize the patient’s condition to minimize the chances of mortality. This means that although they deal with the whole spectrum of emergency patients, they might provide more timely care to patients that are in a more fatal condition.
Once a patient is admitted to the ER, the emergency doctor assesses the best course of action to first provide immediate first aid and then contemplate further medical care. They also assess whether a patient is fit to be released from the emergency department or must be admitted to in-patient care for specialized care under a specialist.
Who do Emergency Medicine Doctors tend to?
Emergency medicine providers are arguably the physicians with the widest variety of patients presenting with every sort of ailment. Everyone from a newborn infant to the oldest of the geriatrics is cared for by an emergency doctor. Ailments relating to all branches of medicine, ranging from neurology and cardiology to pregnancy issues and broken bones are all tended to in the emergency room. For this reason, emergency medicine doctors need to have a fearless attitude and a willingness to take on every challenge with a quick-thinking mind.
How to become an Emergency Medicine Doctor?
If you are considering emergency medicine as a career choice, you must understand the professional and academic requirements that the field entails. The journey will not only test your dedication and keen commitment, but it will also test your qualities of quick thinking, decision making, and ambitiousness, as well.
At least eleven years of education are required after graduating high school to become an ER doctor. These include four years of undergraduate study, five years of medical school, and at least three years of residency. The residency stage can vary in each teaching hospital.
Most medical schools’ criteria of eligibility include a four-year undergraduate degree. Although a premed program is not required, premed programs are specifically designed to encompass all requirements for medical school. The course requirements list majorly includes biology and chemistry, with some physics, math, and literature. For this reason, most aspiring medical students graduate college with majors in biology or chemistry.
Next, all medical school applicants must sit the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT). It is a nationally standardized multiple-choice exam that assesses the proficiency of each candidate in the sciences. Proficiency in communication, writing, critical and analytical thinking is also tested.
Once you have passed the MCAT and have been accepted to medical school, the real journey commences. A medical degree may last four to five years and holistically covers academic and clinical fields of study. Usually, the first 2 years consist of teaching the medical sciences in classrooms. the consequent years progress into clinical education in the teaching hospital.
Upon completion of medical school, you are a proud holder of an MD certification! However, to practice medicine in the United States, every physician must sit the United States Medical Licensing Examination (UMSLE). The USMLE is a standardized national examination that assesses your basic and clinical knowledge about how the body works, how diseases develop, and how you would diagnose and manage said diseases.
To legally practice medicine, all certified medical graduates are required to complete at least a year of residency at a hospital.
After passing the USMLE, you are now eligible for the matching process. Once you have successfully been matched to a hospital in emergency medicine, your specialty training will begin.
Emergency medicine is a highly competitive residency program and requires a commendable academic record seasoned with appropriate electives and good teacher recommendations from medical school professors.
By the end of the training as an emergency medicine doctor you will be able to:
- Elicit accurate, concise, and relevant patient history
- Perform sufficiently elaborate physical patient examinations
- Apply knowledge and expertise to determine the appropriate course of action and make use of the learned technical skills
- Have a profound grasp of pre-hospital and in-hospital emergency care so that you can provide immediate care in both settings
Emergency Medicine Certification
Once you have completed your training, you must successfully attempt a written and oral examination to obtain your board certification for a specialty in emergency medicine. Every ten years, you must sit a written exam for recertification. This ensures all physicians are up to date with all new information and technology with the progression of research.
The objective of the specialty training is to transform ER residents into competent emergency medicine physicians that can make timely and ethical decisions to provide excellent patient care.
Qualities of a good Emergency Medicine Doctor
Emergency rooms are usually fast-paced departments where the patient admission and treatment must be swift. Along with that, decisions must be made timely and sometimes without the patient’s or their family’s consent.
A good emergency medicine doctor exhibits:
- Adaptability and flexibility in the given resources and time frame
- Attention to detail
- Good communication skills
- Strong ethical values
- Problem-solving skills alongside retrieval of relevant information to introduce therapeutic options for the patient
Outlook on ER Departments
Currently, the workforce of the ER consists of a whopping 70% male medical staff and physicians, while only 30% are female. This indicates room for growth and more female counterparts should consider the fast-paced and exciting specialty.
The American College of Emergency Physicians states that over the past twenty years, the number of emergency departments has decreased by 7% while the number of patients has seen a 32% increment. Therefore, the requirement for more emergency medicine doctors is only increasing.
Additionally, the type of concerns patients present in the ER increasingly relates to obesity, lifestyle choices, and aging. This might require changes in general treatment plans as cases become more intricate and concomitant.
See Also: The Role Of A Physician Anesthesiologist – The Silent Force Working Behind The Scenes
All factors considered, the career outlook in the field is positive and job opportunities are readily available. If you believe you have the qualities of a good EM doctor you are ready to embark on the long but rewarding journey to the emergency department.
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