Emergency Medicine Physicians

ER docsPhysicians who practice emergency medicine are trained to think differently from your family doctor. Emergencies require immediate decision-making as physicians look for the most life-threatening diagnosis first and then begin to consider less threatening conditions.

Emergency room (ER) physicians must be familiar with virtually all fields of medicine and surgery, as ER patients have diverse and unpredictable needs. For example, an ER physician may need to manage a patient's airway, place a chest tube, set fractured bones and treat a pregnant patient with vaginal bleeding, all in the same shift.

Training and Certification

Because they need to develop such a wide-ranging skill set, emergency medicine residents rotate through other specialties. By the end of their training, emergency physicians have been exposed to situations that enhance skills in a wide range of medical, surgical and psychiatric emergencies.

Being board certified in emergency medicine helps physicians stay aware of the latest diagnostics and treatment options. To achieve board certification by the American Board of Emergency Medicine, physicians must pass an initial written and oral exam. The certification is valid for ten years, after which physicians must participate in the Emergency Medicine Continuous Certification program to maintain certification.