Christine Cho Submitted 2015-12-20

Walking into the Emergency Room, you will see families in distress, patients in extreme pain, and medical staff coming to the aid of as many people possible. It can be a chaotic and overwhelming site. However, this is the unexpected and thrilling part of medicine. This is the one part of the hospital where accidents are mended and disasters are averted. Nothing is as unpredictable as the Emergency Department. It can be a lot of stress and anxiety to handle for medical professionals, but it can be equally rewarding. The mental preparations that have to be made are not easily achieved. Nor are the physical preparations. However, these preparations are absolutely necessary in order to succeed in Emergency Medicine.

Emergency Medicine is a field of variety. You cannot anticipate what is to come. There are moments where there is not much to do and times where there doesn’t seem to be enough hours in a day. A lot of people romanticize Emergency Medicine as media often portrays it to be constantly exciting. However, it is not always as glamorous as it seems. There are many unattractive sides to Emergency Medicine. For one thing, medical care professionals will have to work in the Emergency Department during undesirable hours. This can become physically challenging, as circadian rhymes must change when a physician switches from day to night shifts. Especially as physicians age, this becomes a major risk to their health. So, it is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle to counteract the health adversities of changing circadian rhymes frequently. Additionally, doctors often have to move swiftly throughout busy shifts. This means that if a physician is physically inept to move quickly, it will be a major setback for that physician, who is trying to achieve the highest quality of care for their patients. Physical skillsets are not the only thing needed. In order to succeed in this field, it is necessary to always be as physically healthy as possible, in order to be alert and responsive to all patients that come into the ER. Mentally, there will be a need for decisiveness in this specialty along with the ability to not linger onto past mistakes. Accidents often come with situations in which time is a dire problem. A lot of patients will require immediate action and quick thinking. This requires physicians and medical professionals to be constantly alert and quick to make decisions. These decisions may not always go as intended, but it is crucial for physicians to move past their mistakes and focus on what they can do next to improve a patient’s situation as fast as possible. Also, doctors often have to consult other doctors that are more specialized in certain fields to get a better grasp of what a patient’s case fully entails. It can be a mental task to methodically think out what the most efficient way to consult other doctors, while reviewing work ups, and reading x-ray results all mean. It may often result to a lot of mental multi-tasking. Therefore, it is crucial for doctors to be focused throughout their shift. Even during the slower moments of the shift, it will be necessary for physicians to be focused so they will be prepared for all situations that may come next.

It is crucial to always be knowledgeable about medicine in a holistic fashion. Because Emergency Medicine is unpredictable, this means any type of illness or accident may come through the doors of the ER. To be prepared for every type of situation is impossible. That is why it is necessary for physicians to have a strong foundation in the basics of medicine and to be able to make quick judgments on dosages, treatment, and care plans. This is unlike any other field of medicine, where doctors often sit and deliberate carefully on what the next steps should be. Because many cases will be time sensitive, these deliberations and thought-processes must be made prior to seeing a patient. It is important for physicians in Emergency Medicine to be well rounded with their knowledge of medicine. A lot of this comes with experience, especially throughout residency. Residency serves as a time to test out what works for an individual and how they can improve their thinking process and intuition. Therefore, residency should be treated as a very valuable time to learn and grow as an Emergency Medicine doctor.

Despite all of these necessary skill sets, Emergency Medicine is an exciting branch of medicine that is relatively new. Everyday, physicians in the field of Emergency Medicine are constantly reshaping a large part of healthcare by how they treat each new case. Because of its nature of being undifferentiated, there is a lot of room for flexibility for physicians to try new things and discover the boundless aspects of medicine.