An emergency medicine physician works in emergency situations across both physical and behavioural areas. They specialise in the diagnosis and management of acutely ill patients who present to the emergency department.
The work is typically fast paced, ever changing and reliance and good teamwork across the department is key.
Emergency medicine physicians can work in metropolitan, regional or rural areas, both privately or publicly. Emergency physicians can also work in administration, research, retrieval medicine or disaster medicine.
Subspecialties include retrieval, toxicology, hyperbaric and event medicine. As a emergency physician you can do a variety of subspecialties. You can also undertake dual training in paediatrics, anaesthetics, intensive care medicine or general practice.
FULL PANEL RECORDING
As an emergency medicine physician, you need to be able to:
- Think fast and work with ongoing interruptions
- See the big picture while also being alert to the smallest details
- Lead a team of health professionals to provide urgent patient care
- Have a broad knowledge-base of medicine including anatomy, pathology, physiology and pharmacology
- Enjoy teamwork
- Have excellent interpersonal skills and emotional intelligence to deal with all patients
- Be decisive
- Work night shifts and non-office hours.
A day in the ED is very variable and this depends on where you work. At the end of the day you can hand over your patients and you can go home. You don’t have any ongoing commitments.
You can work anywhere in the world and you can combine your career with one of your hobbies for example if you like skiing you can work as a ski doctor in Queenstown. You do need to enjoy shiftwork because this is what you’re signing up for.
The Australian College for Emergency Medicine (ACEM) Training Program is a minimum five-year training program (full-time FTE) which can be undertaken on a full-time or part-time basis. To be eligible to apply for selection into ACEM training, you must be in at least your third postgraduate year. There are other eligibility criteria that can be found on the ACEM website.
The first 12 months are provisional training and then you do Advanced Training. You have 12 years in total to complete the training program which you can do part-time or as part of dual training and there’s a generous parental leave policy you can access.
You never know what’s going to come through the door of the Emergency Department, so the College encourages up to 18 months of non-ED terms. You do need to do six months of critical care which can either be ICU or anaesthetics.
You need to find your own placements which allows you to have the flexibility to move around WA or interstate. You can even go overseas and complete some training, and this can count towards your non-ED training so you’re getting more experience and variety.
There are directors of emergency medicine training at each site who will guide you through the training and do your in-training assessments. There are four exams in total throughout the program – two during provisional training and two are towards the end – a written and OSCE.
An emergency medicine term in your second postgraduate year is useful to meet emergency physicians who you can use as your referees for your college application. Their names plus the details of any courses or training completed will need to be included in a structured CV as part of your application.
The College provides feedback if you’re unsuccessful, so you know what you need to improve on for next time. There is no interview and there is no quota so if you make the grade you’re in. You begin training at the start of the medical training year which is February for WA.
All eligibility requirements must be met by the time of the application’s closing date – Round 1 is mid-year and Round 2 is around October. You can apply in either round, there’s no difference and it won’t make any difference to your start date. You’ll always start in February the following year.
You need to ensure you have a registrar position ready for the start of the training year. You can start in a non-ED position and this will contribute towards your provisional training requirements.
Emergency physicians can have a very diverse and flexible career. Emergency physicians can work in public EDs, private EDs, management roles, administration, education roles, retrieval medicine, rural and remote medicine and consultancy. Emergency physicians can work in metropolitan or rural areas with the majority working in metropolitan areas.
N.B. Career prospects are dependent on both the supply of specialists and the projected future demand for services provided by medical specialists (including general practitioners). The complex interplay of supply and demand is currently being modelled at both a state and national level and will be included when it's available.