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What Does an Emergency Care Physician Do?

Nick Mann
Nick Mann

An emergency care physician is a doctor who works in an emergency room or other urgent care facility. His primary role is to treat patients with a variety of ailments that range from mild to severe. The educational requirements for this position include completion of medical school and a residency in emergency medicine. While the specific medical cases can vary from day to day, the basic duties of an emergency care physician remain the same. These include quickly diagnosing patients, stabilizing patients, referring patients to relevant hospital departments and participating in meetings or conferences.

One of the most fundamental duties of an emergency care physician is diagnosing patients. The types of conditions this physician sees can vary widely, and it's important for him to be able to quickly and accurately assess the problem. Diagnosis usually involves an evaluation of each patient to find what the symptoms are. The physician will usually get readings on the patient's vital signs, and if the patient is able to respond, may ask questions that will help him with the diagnosis. Performing these tasks successfully requires that the emergency care physician have a broad knowledge of medical ailments and possess excellent communication skills.

Emergency departments employ emergency care physicians.
Emergency departments employ emergency care physicians.

In many instances, an emergency care physician will also need to stabilize patients. For example, if a patient is having breathing difficulties, a physician might need to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). In the case of a patient experiencing cardiac arrest, he might use an external defibrillator to restore normal heart functioning. This practice requires an individual to be adept at multiple life saving practices and have the necessary equipment on hand.

After a patient has been diagnosed and stabilized, an emergency care physician will usually refer the patient to the appropriate hospital department. The speed with which a patient is referred will typically depend upon the severity of the medical complication and how busy the hospital is. If a patient has experienced a life-threatening complication, the patient will be treated right away. When a condition is milder, the patient might have to wait for a brief period to be treated.

Along with his other duties, an emergency care physician will sometimes need to participate in meetings or conferences. It's necessary for an emergency care physician to stay up-to-date on changes in medical science and technology. At these meetings, he might learn about new methods for treating patients, new equipment and changes in hospital policy. In some instances, he may be required to travel for meetings.

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    • Emergency departments employ emergency care physicians.
      By: EyeMark
      Emergency departments employ emergency care physicians.