What is the future of Emergency Medicine?


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Apr 25, 2003
Fangorn Forest
    Does anyone want to speculate as to the future outlook (like in 4 yrs when I graduate) as far as competitiveness goes for EM? I am an incoming DO student and I was browsing the match posts on this board. Now, I know I'm beyond ignorant due to my (lack of any) medical education so far, but I couldn't help but see that something like 98% of all the spots were filled this year. Does this mean that EM is becoming the new 'hot' specialty in medicine? If I were to stay interested in EM, is it going to hurt me terribly being a DO as far as getting into a residency?

    ........Maybe now that I'm actually accepted to medical school, my brain just needs something else to stress and obsess about.


    Senior Member
    15+ Year Member
    May 23, 2002
      Young grasshopper, in this matter, as in most other EM matters, ask QuinnNSU. He knows especially well how to handle your question, as he's a DO, an EM doctor, and the moderator of this forum.

      YES, EM is one of the "hot" specialties these days. It's very hot. No, it's not as competitive as Ortho or Derm (some people will try to tell you it is) but it's definitely middle-of-the-road to above-average competitive.

      Quinn can tell you better, but I'd say you have a very good shot of matching into an allopathic (MD) EM residency position if you have above average (not necessarily spectacular) boards, grades, and letters. I can't say how good or bad your chances are at matching into an osteopathic (DO) EM residency position, because I don't know how many spots and how competitive.

      There are probably more than a handful of threads that cover this in more detail already ("How high does my Step 1 score have to be?" type of threads), and I'd tell ya to do a search for those threads, but I'm a ***** and don't know how to use the Search function on this bulletin board.

      Thank you.
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      Aug 1, 2002
      1. Attending Physician
        EM has a very stable future, as many candidates see the <80 work week and the flexible life style as very appealing both as a resident and attending. Income on a hourly basis is also quite good as an attending making life after residency very attractive as well. My thoughts and my observations, are that many people who once considered life as a surgical resident and then surgeon are now considering life in EM. Our program in particular has many former surgical residents who seemed to "switch" for their own personal reasons.
        As for Osteopathic EM residencies, see www.acoep.org for information. DO residencies are generally community based residencies vs the university based residency design.
        My advice is to read Iserson's "Guide to Getting a Residency "when comparing residencies...it is very helpful.


        My name is Neo
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        Dec 6, 2000
          Originally posted by alimarie81
          I'd like to know too. I am an incoming DO student (class of 2008) and am seriously considering EM.

          Ah, such props for the pixie-loving Hornet, who we are all glad to see perusing the SDN forums again.

          DocW's post about EM in general is right on, read it again. Now.

          As a DO student, you should still be able to match into an EM program, as long as you are a "good" applicant. This goes for the average MD student. As long as they are a "good" applicant, they'll find a program as well. Granted, there are a handful of programs that will outright reject an application from a DO student... but in my case, I applied to 40+ programs, and got 20+ interviews.

          Obviously, if you screw the pooch and are bottom of the barrel in your class, you'll have a tough time, but so would the person at Harvard, Columbia, and Hopkins.

          Q, DO


          Full Member
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          Mar 19, 2003
          1. Post Doc
            Another thing that cannot be understated is a proven dedication to EM. This can be through EM intrest groups, volunteering as an ED tech, research, etc. I have known folks, over the past few years, who have had trouble matching despite great scores and grades while others seemed to match effortlessly with far worse stats. It seems that program directors (PDs) want to see a long term interest in EM. So start now! Join (or start) an EM interest group, or get your EMT-B cert., or see if any EM research is being performed in your area.

            - H
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