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.
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.
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. 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.