In light of recent events in Emergency Medicine, particularly in the 2023 Match, there have been many questions raised about the trajectory of Emergency Medicine as a specialty. For this episode of Med Student Over Easy, hosts Andy Little and Molly Estes are joined by guests Geoff Comp, DO, and Deena Bengiamin, MD to discuss the future of Emergency Medicine.
Why do we love our job?
There is always the thrill of the challenge that brings many of us to work in the emergency department (ED). We are tasked with finding solutions to complex medical cases and situations in a short amount of time, with often little information. We also get to use some of the best technology to increase our accuracy and speed in diagnosing patients, which can make working in the ED very exciting. Another great aspect of working in the ED is being part of a team. We are one of the few specialties where our team changes on a daily basis and is still able to effectively come together when it comes to saving a patient’s life. We are also fortunate to have a lot of variety in our job. Every day is something new and you never know what the day is going to look like. We take care of everything, from minor scrapes to major traumas. Lastly, there is also the aspect of heroism you feel when taking care of patients on their worst days. Knowing that you helped save a life or treated someone who was suffering is extremely gratifying. The EM physician gets to partake in this experience daily and is one of the best aspects of our job.
What can be difficult about our job?
As with any job, however, there are some less desirable aspects to working as an emergency physician. We have unpredictable hours, work weekends and holidays, and will have to potentially miss important events because of this. We also work in a stressful environment and have to make life-altering decisions in a matter of seconds. EM physicians do deal with burnout frequently. The high-stress environment, as well as the more physically and mentally demanding work hours, are likely to blame for this, however, in recent years there have been more resources available to tackle this problem. Lastly, we occasionally have to deal with the worst parts of humanity and witness traumatic events. When people are having the worst days of their lives, they may not be the nicest, which is understandable. We also witness some traumatizing events that not many other specialties have to deal with as frequently.
So is the future bright?
We believe it is! If you talk to most EM physicians, they will say some days are hard. There will be days when you do not like your job, but overall we love our jobs. Working as an EM physician is extremely rewarding and a great place to be despite some of the negative aspects of our job.
- EM is one of the most rewarding specialties because of the thrill of the challenge, the comradery, the variety, and the satisfaction that comes from making a difference on someone’s worst day
- While EM has its challenges, we, as a specialty are the experts of adapting and facing challenges head-on
- The future of EM is so bright!
Post by Shannon Caliri, DO PGY-3
About Our Guest:
Geoff Comp, DO
Associate Program Director, Creighton University School of Medicine/Maricopa Emergency Medicine Residency Program
Deena Bengiamin, MD
Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine, Loma Linda University School of Medicine
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