I’ve spent nearly a month in the emergency department. It’s been an interesting experience, to say the least! At the outset, the regular shift work can be a double edged sword. On the one hand, you work eight-hour shifts, which is GREAT! On the other hand, the hour distribution can be all over the place during the week; one day I’ll work from 8am-4pm, while another day I’ll work from 3pm-11pm. Another day I’ll work from 11pm-7am! It can be tough to establish a routine, especially when you’re working on weekends.
There is so much variety to emergency medicine. After all, anyone can present to the emergency room! I’ve covered pediatric cases, adult cases, geriatric cases and OB/GYN cases–and sometimes that’s all in one day! Emergency medicine teaches you to think in a slightly different way than the other rotations. In this setting, you have to come up with the worst possible thing it could be. For example, for a patient with chest pain, you want to be thinking about: MI, aortic dissection, unstable angina, tension pneumothorax, or pulmonary embolism. Based on the patient presentation, you want to describe what supports and doesn’t support those differentials. Finally, you’d want to determine what tests to order to help rule in or rule out those diagnoses.
In addition, there’s plenty of procedures to do in EM. You may have to suture a laceration, you may have to pop a dislocated shoulder back into place, or you may have to intubate a patient. I’m liking this rotation so far!