emergency med hours?

Discussion in 'Emergency Medicine' started by williestyle81, Oct 8, 2002.

  1. williestyle81

    williestyle81 Senior Member

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    hello,
    i've heard that emergency medicine is one of the best fields to go into if you want a less demanding schedule. is this true??
     
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  3. PimplePopperMD

    PimplePopperMD Senior Member

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    It really depends. A shift is 8, 10, or 12 hours in length most of the time, though that is variable as well. An EM physician may have 12-20 shifts/month. It sounds great on paper, believe me. But people who do it for that reason will not like it in the long run; it *IS* demanding in many other ways. And some will argue that it is a very demanding schedule as well; when you're on shift, you're really working hard. Very hard.

    Hope that answers your question. This is only from a fourth year student, who has done two one-month electives in emergency medicine (and loved it enough to choose it as a career!)
     
  4. williestyle81

    williestyle81 Senior Member

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    Thanx a lot!!!!!!!!!!!
    Hey, I'm only a 4th year college student applying to med schools:rolleyes:
     
  5. mikecwru

    mikecwru M.D. = Massive Debt

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    Emergency Medicine's schedule is usually nice in terms of absolute hours worked per week, but remember, you're likely to be a 50 year old attending still working nights and holidays. The emergency room is always staffed by attendings. Whereas, surgery residency sucks but eventually your hours will be better and even if you work more hours per week than EM, most of them will be daytime. And what the previous poster said is true: EM is hard. I've had lots of calls in other specialties that were cake, but every one of my EM shifts has been strenuous... you rarely sit down. I did not get enough time to pee in either of my two EM months. I was a lot tired after them (10-12hrs) than any call (36 hrs) I've taken.

    mike
     
  6. bigfrank

    bigfrank SDN Donor

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    Hi,

    At church a couple weeks ago, I talked to, oh, a 45-year-old board-certified Emergency Medicine doc and he spent about 5 minutes telling me how to do EM *ONLY* if you truly LIKE the field. He works 3 12-hour shifts a week (GREAT!!!), BUT he told me that 2 of those shifts are midnight to noon.

    He encouraged me to think about it: Both of those days are pretty much shot--by the time you wake up for your shift and return home to sleep, you have essentially lost 2 full days.

    I hadn't thought of that before and wanted to pass on that perspective. He also encouraged me to remember--it is only so long that a "youngster" can get by on 3-4 hours sleep...
     
  7. tonem

    tonem Senior Member

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    The amout of hours you work in emergency medicine is hugely dependent on where you are working. The 50 year old attending probably has so much seniority that he can work the occassional night for appearances sake in some settings (community hospitals). If he's still working at Charity Hospital or Cook County, it's because he loves it and doesn't care when he works. On the other hand, I would agree wholeheartedly that limited hours is not the reason to go into emergency medicine. If that's your goal you'll probably be happier in a low key 9-5, M-F specialty.
     
  8. Andrew_Doan

    Andrew_Doan Doc, Author, Entrepreneur
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    Such as radiology, derm, path, or ophthalmology to name a few.

    I highly recommend the eye. :)

    Seriously, the burn-out rate for EM physicians is HIGH for the reasons discussed above.
     
  9. srlondon

    srlondon Member

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    The high burn-out rate is one of the most frequently cited reasons not to go into emergency medicine and a "fact" which is rarely based on fact. I would encourage you to _do your own research_ and find out the truth about any specialty rather than relying on rumor and innuendo. See the bottom of this post for a journal citation which discusses many of these issues.

    As far as the shiftwork aspects of EM go, many people, including myself, find it much less stressful to know that I am scheduled to work x number of shifts and that when I'm not scheduled I can actually have a life and enjoy myself rather than being tethered to a pager.

    And while I hate to be the one that points this out, any clinician is going to have to work nights and weekends at some point. The opthamology attending was standing right next to me at the slit lamp at 3am last week in the ED. And while I got to go home at sleep when my relief came in at 8am, he got home at 4am, had two hours' sleep, and got back up to go to a full day's work at 6am. I still love my job. : )

    S London
    Univ of Connecticut EM PGY-1

    An excerpt from Reinhart MA - Ann Emerg Med - 01-Jan-1999; 33(1): 22-32:


    "Unlike other segments of medicine, emergency physicians must treat all patients who present to the ED regardless of funding and the available number of emergency physicians (42 USC ?1395dd). Burnout, turnover, and the training of sufficient numbers of new emergency physicians have frequently been significant sources of concern.[13] [14] The profession is challenging, but the data reported here tend to question many of the concerns described by others. For example, Gallery et al[14] reported disproportionately high levels of stress, a 12% annual turnover, and a 27% turnover over a 5-year period. Our findings show less stress and lower predictions of turnover. On average, the emergency physicians in this study are satisfied to very satisfied with their careers, and find that work stress is not a serious problem.

    The emergency physicians in this study consider the specialty to be the safety net of medicine, in a time of transition, and misunderstood by those outside the specialty. They tend to be middle-aged, family- and community-oriented, and strongly wish for more time for their families and themselves. They have many interests and enjoy wide-ranging activities including the cultural arts, movies, cooking, nature, community activities, outdoor activities, and fitness and competitive sports."

     
  10. Andrew_Doan

    Andrew_Doan Doc, Author, Entrepreneur
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    I am glad you love your job because we need outstanding ER docs! However, I think you'll work nights many, many more times than that ophthalmology attending! :) If he's not retina, then it's probably his 1st or 2nd night that month being called in for a few hours. I'm only on call 4 times a month as a first year. As a second year, I'm on call 2 times a month. As a private practice ophthalmologist, you'll rarely get called in if you were a general ophthalmologist. You just send it into the University. This is a huge difference than doing 10 evening shifts per month.

    This being said. There are essential NO OTHER speciality that will almost allow 2 weeks off per month. I know an ER doc who works in seattle and then flies home to Hawaii. 2 weeks on.. and then 2 weeks off. Makes a very nice living. Enjoys both the rain and shine of the Pacific!

    Good luck to you.
     
  11. ljube_02

    ljube_02 Senior Member

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    What procedures do EM doctors do except for internal medicine, stitching, and iv lines? what surgery procedures might they be allowed to do?

    Why do you need to work as an EM doctor into the 50's? cant you retire earlier? if you start at 30, then 40?
     
  12. William

    William Junior Member

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    Ahh retirment . . .

    you can "retire" by age 50 or 55 IF and only IF you save A LOT of money when you first start out.

    I mean A LOT of savings,

    the problem is you have been denied so many luxuries during training you cant wait to spend 150,000 each year on fun stuff.

    JUST SAY NO !


    BUT if you SAVE $3000-$4000 EACH MONTH from DAY ONE when you start working you will have PLENTY to retire on BEFORE you burnout.

    I am 43 year old ER doc and ready to retire in 7-8 years.
     
  13. srlondon

    srlondon Member

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    Well, central lines (triple lumen catheters, cordices) are a bit more complex (and a lot more fun than IV's), intraosseus lines, chest tubes, intubations, surgical airways (cricothyrotomy), I&D's, arterial lines, nerve blocks, dislocation reductions, are a few that come to mind.

     

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