Emergency medicine is often described as the safety net of America’s healthcare system. Some clinicians would go as far as to say that it is the hub of all things medical. Regardless of definitions and descriptions though, there is no denying that emergency medicine is rather unique in both practice and principle.
For new doctors, emergency medicine offers an intriguing specialty. Needless to say that it is not the right fit for every clinician. But for those doctors who thrive in the emergency setting, there is nothing quite like it. Between employed doctors and their locum tenens counterparts, there are some who love emergency medicine so much they would never think about doing anything else.
How about you? Are you preparing to embark on your medical career and wondering what specialty is right for you? Below are five signs suggesting you might be a good fit for the emergency department.
1. You Thrive on Busyness
With the exception of a few isolated rural environments, most emergency departments are fairly busy 24/7. There is very little downtime between cases. As such, the ED requires a different kind of clinician who actually appreciates being busy. It is not the right environment for doctors who prefer a slower pace with larger blocks of time set aside for individual patients. If you thrive on being busy, emergency medicine might be right up your alley.
2.You’re Not One for Routine
Some doctors absolutely love having a daily routine. They bank on the fact that their work starts at a certain time every day, they break for lunch at the same time, and they go home as soon as the clock strikes five. Yet not every clinician likes this sort of work environment. Some don’t do well with a set routine.
For those kinds of clinicians, the emergency department is a welcome environment. Even though a basic routine exists at most EDs, said routine is not always adhered to. There are so many different things going on that routine often gets thrown out the window.
3. You Appreciate Challenging Cases
Next up are the challenging cases emergency departments see. Yes, some cases are as routine as setting a broken bone after a child falls from a bicycle. But there are other cases that completely baffle hospital staff. These are the kinds of cases that require emergency medicine clinicians to also become detectives. It is their job to solve the puzzle and come up with a treatment.
4. You Don’t Mind the Lack of History
Many of the patients that come into the emergency department do not bring a medical history with them. In other words, they have no family doctors. There is no one to call to access medical records. It is just the patient and what is currently bothering him/her.
This sort of situation makes it difficult for some clinicians to work. But for the emergency room doctor, it’s no sweat. A lack of history is just something else to be overcome in the quest to find out what’s wrong and fix it.
5. You Have a Triage-Trauma Mindset
Emergency medicine clinicians are not treating patients for the long-term. Indeed, they are triage and trauma specialists whose main focus is to stabilize patients so they can either be sent home or be passed on to hospitalists and primary care doctors. That makes emergency medicine different in terms of its philosophy. Emergency medicine requires an entirely different mindset.
Emergency medicine jobs require doctors who tend to see medicine a bit differently. Is it the right specialty for you? Only you can make that decision.