The path of a medical school student is contingent upon several factors including area of interest, personality type, and location. Some aspiring physicians aim to follow in the steps of great surgeons, while others choose to focus on assisting sick children or animals. Regardless of the passion, the pursuit of a medical career is not without its challenges. This is especially true for future Emergency Medicine physicians. Read below to determine whether a career in emergency medicine fits your future goals and better understand what happens in the emergency department.
What is Emergency Medicine?
By definition, Emergency Medicine is the medical specialty dedicated to the diagnosis and treatment of unforeseen illness or injury. Emergency Medicine physicians provide valuable clinical, administrative, and leadership services to the emergency department and other sectors of the health care delivery system.
They are among the most respected doctors, due to the nature of their work and the level of stress that they must endure regularly. However, like any profession, the list of pros can outweigh the cons, depending on the individual and their personality type.
What Are Some Pros and Cons for Emergency Medicine Physicians?
Emergency Medicine Lifestyle
Pros: Although Emergency Medicine physicians can have stressful careers, they have more control over how often they work, and possess more mobility in comparison to doctors of other specialties. They have more liberties to switch to part-time hours, work locum tenens, and take extended leaves. In fact, the average Emergency Medicine physician only works between 1,500-1,200 hours a year. That equates to roughly 30-40 hours a week, making it a relatively normal schedule.
Cons: They often work late nights, weekends, and holidays. Working those kinds of days and hours creates isolation that can sometimes lead to depression. They tend to typically bury themselves into their work and neglect their personal lives completely. The average emergency physician is without any hobbies or social life to speak of unless they choose to have control over their lives and find positive outlets to avoid physician burnout and depression.
Pros: Over the course of the next 10 years, there is a projected shortage of physicians in the tens of thousands. While it isn’t great for the general population, it certainly bodes well for physicians and their opportunities to find a home. They’re also well compensated for their work. With an average salary of over $320k annually, there’s plenty of financial incentive for aspiring physicians to enter Emergency Medicine.
Cons: While compensation is plentiful, the same applies to the amount of stress they take on. Emergency physicians take on a heavy workload and find themselves managing multiple critical patients at once. There are times when the physician does everything within their power to treat the patient, only to watch them pass away right before their eyes. There are patients who are victims of horrible acts such as rape, torture, child abuse and so forth. Additionally, emergency physicians often receive more lawsuits, due to alleged malpractice than most physicians from other specialties. These factors contribute to physician burnout and can reduce the career length of emergency physicians.
Pros: Medical students must choose a specialty to focus on, which can create a bit of confusion for those who aren’t necessarily sure what direction they want to go in. For emergency physicians, they are trained to treat just about any number of ailments short of surgery. From routine to life-saving procedures, the day and life of an Emergency Medicine physician are unpredictable. Although it’s not the same as what you see on TV, it can be exciting for those who are passionate about their field.
Cons: The downside to the unpredictability of an emergency physician’s workday is that the chances of physician burnout greatly increase. While some days are good, others are flat out terrible. Additionally, most Emergency Medicine physicians don’t work in private practices. They generally work in hospitals or other facilities, limiting their power to demand higher compensation and practice their rights. Highly trained emergency physicians are often mistreated in hospital settings, often seen as “jacks of all trades” and not “real doctors” in the eyes of the staff and administration, which can also contribute to their depression since they work hard and are unappreciated.
Despite the cons, working with a healthcare job placement as an Emergency Medicine physician is rewarding, to say the least. Contact our staffing recruiters today to get started on your career in locum tenens.
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