MCAT guy

May 24, 2010
Other Health Professions Student

I am highly interested in Emergency Medicine. I have spent a lot of volunteer time and much less shadowing time. I've read a lot about this specialty. One thing that seems like it would be a challenge is multi-tasking. I am at best average at multi-tasking. I was amazed watching the attending I shadowed be told about 5 different patients conditions in 3 minutes, then watch him go take care of 2 or 3 while still remembering each of the rooms, complaints, issues, etc of the other patients. All while being constantly interrupted by nurses, residents, pagers, etc.

EM seems like the ultimate multi-tasking specialty. Were you guys/gals always good at multi-tasking or did you get better with time? I've always been the guy who focuses so much on one thing, then forgets about the bread that is burning in the oven. Is this weakness something that means EM would be a poor fit?

Also, how difficult is it for you to constantly flip circadian rhythms? Or can you avoid this? I read that you probably can't control it for 5-10 years, after which you are established in the specialty. I'm really not looking to be lazy, as I wouldn't mind 60-80 hr weeks, but working a day shift, night shift, day shift, night shift, seems like it would be super difficult! Are the people who do EM naturally good at changing their circadian rhythm or is it something your body can adjust to after being in the field?


Running down a dream
10+ Year Member
Sep 25, 2004
Right where I belong
Resident [Any Field]
Residency trains you how to deal with things. I multitask better now than ever before and you learn how to deal with the shift work. You'd be surprised what you can learn to do.