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The student's role in the Emergency Department

Think like a physician

The Emergency Department (ED) is an exciting, vibrant and fast-paced setting. The ED requires emergency medicine (EM) physicians who can immediately hone in on a patient’s chief complaint. They must be able to extrapolate any and all relevant information from that patient’s history and physical exam in order to determine a diagnosis and make decisions about necessary diagnostic tests, disposition and treatment.

This ability is vital because you may have one patient with a laceration or broken bone in one bed and in the next bed over, you have a patient suffering from an acute myocardial infarction (MI).

This variety requires that the emergency physician be trained in a wide diversity of procedures — central lines, lumbar punctures, chest tubes, ultrasound, etc. This training and ability is what keeps the scope of practice lively and ever changing.

Eventually, a trained emergency physician is able to handle not only traumas, but also almost every other imaginable acute and non-acute problem. Because most hospital admissions come through the ED, it is imperative that the EM physician have a good grasp of most fields of medicine.

Your conduct, your environment

Students who show enthusiasm, initiative and interest during their EM rotation will undoubtedly have the best experience and make the best impression on our evaluators. A student’s demeanor in the ED with patients, fellow physicians and staff members has a substantial impact on how they are perceived.

Please ensure that you are always respectful during your interactions in the ED. Remain focused on this learning opportunity, provide good care to patients and get the most that you can from the experiences provided.

Do not hesitate to seek out interesting cases or procedures when they present themselves. Ask to observe when possible!