What is Involved in an Emergency Medicine Residency?

Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison
Doctos must be trained in emergency procedures.
Doctos must be trained in emergency procedures.

An emergency medicine residency is intended to train physicians in emergency medical care. Following medical school, an aspiring emergency medicine physician commits to training through an emergency medicine residency program. Through such a program, he has an opportunity to diagnose and treat patients, learn through exposure to numerous medical emergencies, and hone the skills he will need throughout his career as a doctor. In most cases, the first year of residency training helps prepare an aspiring doctor to take and pass a jurisdiction-required physician licensing exam.

An emergency medicine residency teaches a doctor how to treat patients of all ages.
An emergency medicine residency teaches a doctor how to treat patients of all ages.

Each emergency medical residency program may be unique in some ways. They all, however, are intended to produce the best physicians in the field of emergency medicine. In most cases, an emergency medical residency exposes aspiring doctors to a wide range of medical conditions and treatments. For example, this type of program typically includes training in assessing and resuscitating patients in an emergency department setting, performing primary psychiatric assessments, and using a range of equipment and procedures to help a patient breathe and maintain adequate blood flow. Training usually includes prescribing medication and coordinating care for trauma patients as well.

Residency is an important part of training for physicians that lasts from three to seven years.
Residency is an important part of training for physicians that lasts from three to seven years.

During an emergency medicine residency, a doctor may care for patients of all ages, including geriatric and pediatric patients. He may learn emergency psychiatry, anesthesia, surgical, and trauma procedures. He may also learn how to use ultrasound equipment and assess and treat emergency obstetric and gynecology patients. Training may also include significant time evaluating and caring for patients in intensive care units.

As part of an emergency medicine residency, a doctor may learn about pre-hospital care.
As part of an emergency medicine residency, a doctor may learn about pre-hospital care.

As part of an emergency medicine residency, a doctor may learn about pre-hospital care. For example, he may participate in ambulance and emergency medical helicopter ride-alongs in order to learn firsthand how patients are cared for on the way to the hospital. Typically, a first-year resident starts out observing this care. Toward the end of his residency, however, he may also have an opportunity to serve as a team member on these ride-alongs.

When a resident starts out in an emergency medicine residency, he typically has primary responsibility for the patients in his care, though he is supervised by other medical staff and more experienced residents. In time, he is usually given more responsibility. Eventually, an emergency medicine resident will require less supervision and will usually have the opportunity to supervise medical students and less-experienced residents himself.

An emergency medical residency is typically demanding, both physically and emotionally. Residents are usually required to work long shifts and learn even as they are responsible for saving lives. Though an emergency medical resident does have mandatory training to complete, he is typically permitted to choose electives to pursue within the emergency medicine field as well.

Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison

Nicole’s thirst for knowledge inspired her to become a wiseGEEK writer, and she focuses primarily on topics such as homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. When not writing or spending time with her four children, Nicole enjoys reading, camping, and going to the beach.

Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison

Nicole’s thirst for knowledge inspired her to become a wiseGEEK writer, and she focuses primarily on topics such as homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. When not writing or spending time with her four children, Nicole enjoys reading, camping, and going to the beach.

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    • Doctos must be trained in emergency procedures.
      Doctos must be trained in emergency procedures.
    • An emergency medicine residency teaches a doctor how to treat patients of all ages.
      An emergency medicine residency teaches a doctor how to treat patients of all ages.
    • Residency is an important part of training for physicians that lasts from three to seven years.
      Residency is an important part of training for physicians that lasts from three to seven years.
    • As part of an emergency medicine residency, a doctor may learn about pre-hospital care.
      As part of an emergency medicine residency, a doctor may learn about pre-hospital care.