Many third-year medical students have approached me to ask what my favorite fourth-year elective was to assist in planning out their fourth-year. I thought I would dedicate this post to that very question because I’m sure many third-year medical students are wondering the same. I would have to say it was my Emergency Medicine rotation.
I feel like this is one of the most diverse fields in medicine. An emergency physician sees everything. They are the most skilled problem solvers of medicine. They know minimal information about the patients they encounter daily and must decide if their problems warrant emergency treatment, or if the patient just needs to see a primary care physician. The day is broken up by random traumas that burst through the door. One never knows what to expect. Will this be another gunshot wound, fall, blunt abdominal trauma, or some type of neurological deficit? Each scenario is a whole new mystery that must be solved in a reasonable amount of time.
Emergency physicians are also the gateway to the entire hospital. They decide what the disposition of the patient will be. Should they be admitted to the medicine team, surgery, trauma, ICU, OB-GYN? These are all decisions made by the ED docs while they care for their countless other patients, and prepare for whatever emergencies come through the door at any time. It is definitely a great way to increase speed and confidence in decision making for any medical student.