Emergency medicine physicians, also known as accident and emergency physicians, are first line providers of care for undifferentiated and unscheduled patients with illnesses, injuries and behavioural abnormalities requiring immediate attention. They require expert skills in triage, diagnosis and resuscitation as well as a detailed knowledge of many medical and surgical specialities.
Emergency physicians generally practice in hospital emergency departments, pre- hospital settings via emergency medical services and intensive care units, but may also work in primary care settings such as urgent care clinics. In rural and remote areas, emergency departments are often staffed by general practitioners.
International Models of Emergency Medicine
Worldwide, the provision of emergency care varies and emergency medicine is a new or developing specialist area.
In the Anglo American model of healthcare, Emergency Medicine was traditionally the domain of surgeons, general physicians and GPs and was not recognised as a speciality in its own right, with its own training programmes and academic posts until the 1980s. Since then it has gained more popularity as a career choice with recent medical graduates and medical students but remains a speciality with critical skills shortages.
In the Franco – German model of healthcare, the speciality does not exist and emergency medical care is provided directly by various specialists: anaesthetists (for initial resuscitation), surgeons, internists, general practitioners.
In developing countries, emergency medicine is still evolving as training programmes are organised and postgraduate exams commenced.
Qualifications in Emergency Medicine
Our candidates for Emergency Medicine roles are of two types:
1: Emergency Medicine Specialists who have completed residency or structured postgraduate training programmes in the speciality and obtained one of the following qualifications:
USA: American Board of Emergency Medicine (ABEM)
Canada: FRCPC (Fellowship of the Royal College of Physicians of Canada)
UK: FRCEM or MCREM and CCT from the Royal College of Emergency Medicine
Australia and New Zealand: FACEM from the Australasian College of Emergency Medicine or FRACP from the Australian College of Physicians (dual certification in paediatrics or intensive care)
Ireland: FRCSI CCT in Emergency Medicine from the Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland
South Africa: FCEM from the Colleges of Medicine
2: Specialists with additional qualifications in Emergency Medicine. These are physicians who have completed postgraduate training in other fields usually general practice, internal medicine, anaesthesia and surgery and take an approved Emergency Medicine training course.
Canada: CCFM(EM) Advanced Competency Programme in Emergency Medicine for 1 year for Family Physicians.
Subspecialist Qualifications in Emergency Medicine
Some of our Emergency physicians have undertaken further training and fellowship programmes in subspecialist fields such as palliative care, critical care medicine, medical toxicology, wilderness medicine, paediatric emergency medicine, sports medicine, disaster medicine, tactical medicine, ultrasound, pain medicine, pre-hospital emergency medicine , or undersea and hyperbaric medicine.
Emergency Medicine Roles
Emergency physicians are in high demand for roles at all levels. Experienced consultants are sought to lead departments and provide expertise for established and newly set up emergency departments worldwide whilst registrars and house officers are sought for public sector hospitals in developed countries where many of these positions offer excellent accredited training in the speciality.
Experienced General Practitioners are sought for District Medical Officer roles in rural areas of Australia where they may have senior positions in Emergency Departments with opportunities to practice anaesthesia, obstetrics and minor surgery.
Emergency Medicine roles are usually salaried positions with few opportunities for external private practice. The speciality is more highly remunerated than other medical specialities in some countries in recognition of its acute nature, shift pattern of work and lack of fee earning potential.