Emergency medicine is a fast-paced field specializing in the immediate, lifesaving treatment of people in need. Doctors need to be able to function in a high-stress, high-stakes environment in order to successfully practice emergency medicine. While all jobs in emergency medicine focus on the same goal — the preservation of life — there are multiple emergency physician jobs, each with its own scope and specialty.
Students pursuing emergency physician careers must undergo the same training as general practitioners. Emergency doctors must possess a medical doctorate (MD) or doctor of osteopathy (DO) degree and the appropriate amount of medical school training as defined by their job. Beyond the basic medical training, those interested in the field may also need emergency physician training classes in order to learn how to successfully function within the emergency care department. Some emergency physician jobs require applicants to pursue advanced emergency physician courses to ensure all of the practitioners in that department possess the same knowledge, skills and competency.
Doctors with generalized diagnostic knowledge may work as attending or resident physicians. These doctors actively see and interact with patients in order to figure out the problem or illness that caused them to seek care. The attending and resident physicians listen to a patient's description of the problem, run diagnostic testing to determine the cause of the problem and observe the patient to ensure that the problem is resolved.
Other types of emergency physician jobs are specialized. An emergency surgeon, for example, would be called in if the patient requires the removal of an embedded foreign object to survive. Emergency physicians with a specialty in pediatrics would aid children in life-threatening emergencies. Doctors with training in medical toxicology are able to preserve and support the lives of people who have been poisoned or who have overdosed on medication or other drugs.
Emergency physician requirements vary from location to location. What may be acceptable training and knowledge for an emergency doctor in one hospital may not be acceptable in another. Emergency physician jobs also vary from institution to institution also. What may be needed or accepted at a private hospital or institution may not be appropriate for a public hospital or institution.
Students who are interested in becoming an emergency physician would be wise to first perform a bit of research. They should contact the local board of medicine or emergency medical association for more information on emergency physician jobs and the requirements needed to pursue a career as an emergency physician. It would also be helpful to speak to doctors practicing emergency medicine to obtain a realistic view of the benefits and downsides of becoming an emergency physician, as well as the job requirements and duties.