Many Emergency Medicine physicians enjoy working locum tenens because the things you encounter in an emergency room varies at each facility. There’s hardly a typical day. With such a variety of cases, an Emergency Medicine physician must be able to identify which conditions need immediate attention and which ones can wait until the more severe cases are taken care of.
As you enter the ER, there may be four or five patients sitting there waiting to be taken care of. The first thing you could see is someone with a fever of 105 degrees, which can certainly be life-threatening. Next to him may be someone with a gash in their hand from accidentally cutting themselves with a knife while cooking. Next to that person is a teenager with a broken arm and beside her is someone complaining of a sore throat.
As an Emergency Medicine physician, you must decide which patients to prioritize. By acknowledging the patients, making sure they are all stable and breathing, and checking all of their vital signs, you can put each in order of importance. Although a sore throat can be very uncomfortable, that patient will likely end up waiting a while to be seen.
Many different types of people come into the emergency room with all types of issues. Emergency Medicine locum tenens shifts are often 12-hours long, so you can imagine the variety of encounters a physician will have. One day, you may be taking care of people that have a meningitis scare due to their chronic headaches and fever. Other days, you may be dealing with accident after accident, spending most of your time in the trauma room. One moment you’re treating a geriatric patient, the next you’re treating a psychiatric patient. But that is what is most fun for Emergency Medicine physicians—you see a little of everything.
Your locum tenens shift may have you covering a rural ER where there might not be any Urgent Care clinics. And, as a result, you will see many patients with minor lacerations or coughs from colds and flu. At 3 a.m., the ER could be dead silent one moment, and then all hell could break loose the next. As an Emergency Medicine physician, you quickly learn that there is seldom time to be idle and that you must be prepared at all times to spring into action.
Your next Emergency Medicine locum tenens assignment could have you working at a large medical center in a busy downtown where you’ll see a steady flow of auto-accident injuries, gunshot wounds, and knife wounds.
The unpredictable nature of an ER gives Emergency Medicine physicians something to look forward to each day. Although it can be a stressful job, it can be equally rewarding. Life in the ER is different everywhere you go, and as an Emergency Medicine locum tenens physician, you’ll get to experience it all.
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