Are You Cut Out to Work in Emergency Medicine?

by Howard Gerber on October 25, 2012

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Are You Cut Out to Work in Emergency Medicine?

The emergency department is an important part of any hospital, and the medical staff in the ER often has to make split-second decisions that are literally a matter of life and death. These men and women make a difference in people’s lives every day. Do you want to be one of them?

Making a Difference in the ER

From triage to emergency room nurse in the trenches, you will be taking care of patients in a time of crisis and intense need. Emergency room physicians are responsible for treating patients at various levels of trauma, and emergency room nurses are there to support both the doctors and the patients. If you’ve ever been a patient or the family member of a patient in the ER, you know how much it means to know the medical professionals are doing their best to help you or your loved one, and how grateful you can be afterward to those people. By working in emergency medicine, you can be one of those professionals that patients are so grateful for every day.

Fast-Paced Environment Where No Two Days are the Same

Life as an emergency medicine professional means that you will see a variety of patients presenting with a wide array of injuries and illnesses, from broken bones and severed fingers to heart attacks and strokes. You can learn a lot about conditions you’d never see working in general practice or even the ICU. Though there may be slow periods every once in a while, it’s almost guaranteed that you’ll never be bored working in the emergency department. You need to be sure you can physically and mentally handle being on-your-feet busy throughout every shift.

Trauma and Death

Because of the nature of emergency medicine, you will be exposed to the sort of trauma they can’t sure during prime time on even the goriest medical dramas. Gaping wounds, severed limbs, multiple gunshot wounds, bizarre worksite injuries – you’ll be up close and personal with all of them. You’ll need to come to terms with the fact that not every patient can be saved, either. The severity of illness and injury may be too great to “fix” or cure by even the most skilled medical professionals, and you will have to face patient death on a regular basis. If you do not think you can handle this mentally and emotionally, the emergency department is probably not for you, or your work will tear you apart.

Do you work in the emergency department, or have you ever done an emergency medicine rotation? What else do you think is important for medical professionals who are considering a career in emergency medicine?

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