How Can I Learn to Practice Emergency Room Medicine?

If you would like to work with patients who are in need of immediate critical care, you may be interested in developing a career in emergency room medicine. Every day, emergency room physicians help save the lives of traumatically-injured people. Read on to to ascertain the requirements for practicing emergency medicine. Schools offering Allied Health degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Important Information About Emergency Room Medicine

Careers involving emergency room medicine can be extremely stressful, but also very rewarding. Professionals are required to make quick, important decisions and respond immediately to serious health concerns. As such, training and education requirements are often extensive. Students normally 'begin' by attending medical school, which by itself requires prior post-secondary education. Work experience is essential and is provided through the completion of residencies and fellowships. The information below provides more details about each step of the process.

Important Facts About Emergency Room Medicine Education

Prerequisites Bachelor's degree with an excellent grade point average and coursework in subjects such as mathematics, biology, chemistry, and physics
Online Availability The nature of residencies and fellowships precludes the possibility of distance education
Common Courses Anatomy, pathophysiology, patient care, immunology
Possible Careers Emergency room nurse, emergency medicine physician
Median Salary (2019)* $65,595 (for all ER registered nurses
Job Outlook (2016-2026)** 15% growth (for all registered nurses)  

Source: *; **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Attend Medical School

Assuming that you have already earned an undergraduate degree, the next step you should take toward specializing in emergency medicine is to apply to medical school.

Generally, medical school requires four years of study. During the first two years of medical school, you must take courses that are designed to teach you about the general discipline of medicine, with topics including infectious disease and human health.

Over the final two years of medical school, you must participate in hospital rotations. You may spend 4-8 weeks in different hospital divisions such as obstetrics and gynecology, neurology and psychiatry, general medicine, surgery and pediatrics. Depending on your program, you may be able to participate in a fourth-year clinical elective that is devoted to emergency medicine.

Complete a Surgical Residency

After finishing medical school, you should complete a residency in emergency medicine. This rotation is required for you to become licensed in the practice. During this rotation, you will receive hands-on training in the basics of emergency care such as pediatric care, transport and trauma under the supervision of licensed surgeons and other emergency medical experts.

You may be paid for the work you do in this residency, even though you will still be considered a medical student. Since you are a student, you must also attend some classes, participate in research and possibly teach medical students. Most emergency medicine residencies last three years, although some schools have 4-year programs. Depending on your program, you may be expected to take on additional administrative or leadership responsibilities as you progress through your residency.

Complete a Fellowship

Once you've completed a residency, you may apply for a fellowship in emergency medicine. In general, such fellowships last two years and allow you to research one sub-discipline of the specialty. Potential fellowships may include disaster and emergency medical services, international emergency medicine, clinical research, toxicology and extreme environmental medicine.

Fellowships are usually offered in partnership with hospitals or other medical facilities that provide emergency care. If you receive a fellowship, you will be expected to not only provide medical care to patients, but also to conduct research, present at conferences and instruct residents.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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