Shadowing a DoctorJune 16, 2014
Key Skills And Competencies Required In Emergency Medicine
Emergency medicine attracts a wide range of dynamic professionals who enjoy variety and love the challenge of practicing this type of fast-paced medicine. If you enjoy variety and excitement, this can be a satisfying and rewarding career choice, with considerable scope to develop a range of interests.
As an emergency physician, you would work with patients of all ages, with all kinds of medical presentations. There is never a dull day in the emergency department, as you will find yourself working your way from one challenge to the next, applying a variety of skills to every new situation. No two hours are the same! Every patient that comes through the door brings in his or her own unique emergency. You could be dealing with gunshot wounds, car accident victims, poisoning and burn victims all at the same time and all requiring immediate care.
Emergency physicians are often the first to attend to patients who arrive at the emergency department. With every patient in pain, anxious and unprepared to be in the hospital, soothing their anxiety is as important as attending to the injury itself.
As an emergency physician, your first task would be to try and ascertain what happened in this situation, come to a quick diagnosis and line of treatment using only your problem-solving skills. To be able to deal with just one patient, you need to be organised, knowledgeable and capable of thinking on your feet. To be able to deal with several patients with different presentations, you will also have to be able to multitask efficiently and be flexible enough to switch priorities or change your approach depending on the situation.
Communication and interpersonal skills are important attributes as you will have to interact with the public as well as professionals from other specialties. Compassion and empathy for patients at their time of need will go a long way in this specialty – and this is often what patients value most.
Common Procedures/ Interventions You Need To Know As An EP
An Emergency Physician has to be skilled in the entire spectrum of emergency and non-emergency medical procedures including but not limited to:
– Anaesthetics and Pain Relief
– Abdominal conditions
– Wound Management
– Head Injury
– Musculoskeletal injury
– Vascular Emergencies
– Respiratory Medicine
– Neurological Emergencies
– Hepatic Disorders
– Diabetes and Endocrinology
– Fluid and Electrolytes
– Renal Disease
While this is undoubtedly a high stress specialty, if you have the aptitude for it you will enjoy the immense satisfaction of knowing you are helping people at their greatest time of need, many of whom may be battling life and death situations.