Emergency medicine physicians usually work in hospital emergency rooms or any pre-hospital medical emergency environment. Emergency medical conditions have a significant risk of mortality or any threat to life or limb.
Emergency medicine involves all fields of surgical and medical procedures. Emergency medicine physicians see a large number of patients, and they are required to have a broad knowledge base and medical skills. These include surgery, trauma resuscitation, advanced cardiac life support and airway management, suturing of complex lacerations, setting fractures and dislocated joints, treating heart attack and stroke victims, emergency obstetrics and gynecological disorders, placing of chest tubes, stopping profuse bleeding, medical care of serious burn injuries, and care for individuals who have been poisoned.
A candidate who wishes to become an emergency medicine physician must complete four years in an undergraduate program at a college or university, and an additional four years of medical school. Then the candidate must complete three to eight years in a residency or internship program which rotates the physician through a variety of medical specialities with a concentration of these rotations serving in the hospital emergency department.
By the end of their residency training, the physician is expected to handle a vast field of medical, surgical and psychiatric emergencies, and they are considered specialists in the diagnosis, treatment and stabilization of patient’s emergency conditions.
Since most emergency rooms are open 24 hours a day, most emergency room physicians work in shifts. These positions are considered the most fast-paced, grueling and intensive to be employed in a medical atmosphere. Emergency medicine physicians also deal with a high rate of death, second only to oncologists. Burn-out and depression are common among emergency medicine physicians as a result of their environment.
Emergency medicine physicians are required to work under extreme stress and time sensitive conditions. The �golden hour� is a medical terminology which establishes a victim’s chance of survival when suffering a life threatening medical illness or injury. There are three periods in which death can occur after a trauma is experienced by the patient � immediate, early and late. The �golden hour� is the second peak which occurs and last from a few minutes to several hours following the injury. It has been well researched and documented that the victim’s chance of survival is the best if medical care is administered in the shortest time period after a severe injury or sudden onset of a severe illness.
Examples of the �golden hour� are complications of shock may occur if the patient is not administered to expeditiously. Stroke victims can suffer increased damage if appropriate drugs are not introduced within the �golden hour.� And, severe trauma victims suffering from internal bleeding must be taken to surgery immediately to avoid certain death.
The annual salary for emergency medicine physicians ranges from $100,000 to $300,000. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for emergency medicine physicians is expected to be excellent and is growing faster than average.