Anyone know anything about ER residencies?

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    double elledouble elle

    Hi – I am a third year student and a mom of a 1-year-old beautiful little girl. I am thinking of Emergency medicine. However, I don’t know any females who have gone thru this. It really doesn’t help to talk to the male ER docs I work with – they have an entirely different perspective.

    Any information would be helpful.


    Hi double elle. :wave: I’m glad you started this thread. I am an MSII and very interested in emergency medicine and would love to hear from some women who are there. I will be starting a family soon 😮 and am wondering if it is one of the fields that works better with raising a family due to the shifts, etc. I hope there are some ER moms out there to give advice! 🙂


    I am a very happy ER physician, a very happy wife, and a very happy mom (to a 14 month old baby girl)!! It’s the absolute perfect specialty for people who enjoy life outside of the hospital. You don’t have to deal with all the BS other docs endure. Once I leave the hospital (after my SHIFT) there’s no pager…no hospital responsibilies. I make a huge difference in the lives of people in their most distressful times. I help care for people who have no where else to go. I work with children, adults, women…I do procedures, I do ultrasounds, I read x-rays…I do it all. And I love it. I can’t understand why it’s so male dominated. I think as the word gets out, more women will *discover* emergency medicine!!


    hi! do you have an Er club at your shcool? ther eis one at the shcool i attend and th einformation at the firts meeting was veyr helpful. the residency director talked and in addition ot the pros that Mya gave, he did give some cons.
    he basically said that you will never have most of your holidays again- like Christmas and thanksgiving. he said that he had been trying to explain it to his family for years but they thought that since he had some seniority he should be able to have holidays off but those are the times when more staff is needed.
    also your temperament must be such that you can withstand being pulled 4 different ways at once. such is life in and ER.
    those 2 thinsg stand out in my mind becuas ealthough i love the aspects of it that Mya was discussing, i could definitely NOT handle what i just mentioned.
    seems like a great field but definitely not for me.


    I am an ER physician, and that’s definately not my experience. I have had my holidays…I’ve never worked on Christmas. ER docs only work 12 shifts a month. Chances are you’ll have many holidays off…especially if that’s what’s important to you. Chris hit the nail on the head when she stated that a man’s experience is different – especially one at an academic institution (such as at a medical school, or someone involved in an “ER club”)

    It is true that you may have to multitask, but not quite like on “ER.” That’s TV, real life isn’t so dramatic. If you work at a quiet ER, you may even get to sleep during you shift. I’d argue that FP, or IM (and definately peds) offers the physician *less* time home with family. You may get Christmas off (as the doctor’s office may be closed) but if the trade off is 50-60 hour work weeks…I’ll take 3 shifts in the ER (and work on Thanksgiving) anyday. It’s about day to day living, not just holidays.


    You guys, just come see. Come see what it’s like in the ER. Talk to the residents, talk to female physicians. Don’t rely on heresay (or someone else’s experience) to dictate what career path you take. I’m sure there are those physicians who work their ass off (for various reasons) and may find themselves a bit removed from their family. But that’s not the general theme among ER docs. Most of us choose this specialty (as opposed to say, surgery) because we do want adequate time away from the hosptial.

    But no matter what I say, because it’s *my* experience…see for yourselves. It’s wonderful. We don’t *always* work on holidays (actually I’d argue we work *less* holidays than most physicians). Physicians typically get pulled in different directions regardless of the specialty (provided that it’s a clinical specialty).

    Cons? I used to think that the lack of continuity of care would bother me, but it doesn’t. I did internal medicine prior to ER, and the continuity of care thing was greatly overrated.

    Cons? Perhaps the level of drama in the ER. Those who use the ER as their primary care clinic (so to speak). Maybe the lack of anxillary support. Dealing with certain consultants can be a pain. Fear of a lawsuit dampens my spirits from time to time.

    By the way, I’m sorry to post in the med student forum, but I wasn’t aware that it was exclusive. Also, I thought that perhaps my view point may guide those students into suitable specialty (either ER, or not ER) so they won’t have to go thru multiple residencies before discovering where they fit in.

    EM momEM mom

    I apologize in advance for posting in the MS forum…maybe the moderator can move this to specialties since I know that there are several other EM MDs on this site that would probably have good advice. As you all probably know I am trying to get my little MD self to EM just as fast as I can! EM docs are the happiest group of docs I ever met/worked with, with the exception of radiologist…which is another story altogether.

    A couple of helpful sites may be,,,, there are a lot more, but a lot of these will let med students become members.


    apparently only the physician forum is exclusive.

    anyway i didn’t mean to imply that the residency director was unhappy. in fact he seemed to love it. and he gave all of the pros that you guys are given but when asked the cons, those issues htta i mentioned above are what he said.

    also, there was a very long thread in the specialty forum about Er medician a while back. it had people dicussing the field who love it and those who don’t so you get all persectives. you woudl have to do a search to find it though.

    double elledouble elle

    Actually – I should have originally posted this on the specialties forum. I didn’t even notice that one. I WANT docs and residents to respond!!!!!!!! – as well as ANY students who know anything about this.

    Haha – I couldn’t figure out how to post where all could see this – but follow the ‘docs/residents only’ rules on the other forums!


    The med student forum is definitely not exclusive. Everyone is welcome to contribute. 😀

    I will go ahead & move this to the resident forum for further input, though. (also a non-exclusive forum)

    That said, I’m also interested in EM. :yes:


    Emergency medicine isn’t one of those specialties that women think of initially. We tend to think of peds, Ob/gyn, FP, and perhaps IM. But, you know, those primary care fields are so time intensive. As a student I didn’t appreciate this fact. As a student, primary care sounded so…romantic. But, after a prelim year in IM, I see differently. I was reading thru old posts about the many women who have been disappointed by medicine, who waited for the “pot of gold,” only to find it half empty. And, you know what? There seems to be a common theme. FP, IM, and primary care in general seem to produce the most unhappy physicians. I’m not sure why, but I speculate that it’s because these specialties are deceptively low stress, when in fact they aren’t. Also, I don’t feel that they are family friendly at all (despite what I believed in med school). We all knew surgery, and the surgical subspecialties were a pain in the ass…but who woulda thought FP would be unfriendly to *family*?

    I think that young women really need to get out there and *consider* ER, anesthesia, derm, ophthamology, path, radiology, and did I mention ER?!! Don’t (mentally) limit yourself to primary care…it’s not all that it seems…or should I say it’s way more than you may expect.

    No controversy…I’m not saying FP or IM sucks. Many docs are very happy in these fields. Realize just because you want a life outside of the hospital you’re tied to these specialties. And choosing them just for “lifestyle” reasons (which is totally valid, this is why I choose ER) isn’t the right thing to do.


    This all sounds really great, esp b/c I’ve been considering ER as a speciality to go into. My question is, how difficult is it to land a spot?


    ER is becoming more competitve as it gains popularity. It’s not as competitive as neurosurgery, dermatology, or ophthamology (and probably ortho)…but is now more competitive than general surgery (as surgery is becoming less attractive to medical students), FP, IM, and peds. Also becoming more popular are radiology (interventional) and anesthesia (but not to the same level as ER, I don’t think) I haven’t noticed that research is a big factor in the selection process…but doing a rotation is.

    We need more women in EM…so I think that’s a plus for any of us who chooses it as a specialty.

    Good luck!


    I can’t tell you how many docs have told me (I am an MSI) how great EM is for women who want a family. I’ve been considering it for a while.

    Re: competitiveness for residencies. I was wondering whether the 80-hour work week might have some effect on this. General surgery has had a resurgence with the 80-hour work week–200+ spots unfilled in 2002 vs. 9 in 2003, according to the (female) chief of surgery at my school’s hospital–so I think GS might get competitive again, although I don’t know whether that will effect EM. I expect the interest in EM is coming from would-be GPs, as I know a number of IM/FP physicians working in the ED rather than dealing with excessive call and demanding patients in a community practice.


    It’s interesting comparing other subspecialists who work in the ER with those of us who are ER trained. I think that as people *choose* ER as a career the satisfaction increases. When you are *forced* into it (as those who trained in FP or IM were) I think satisfaction isn’t as high. I say “forced” because if these physicians wanted to to ER, they wouldn’t have gone thru a FP or IM residency. Why would they have?

    I don’t think GS will affect EM much because they are so different. 7 years…q3d call…then you do appys and choles…or subspecialize…then only do whatever your subspecialty is…at the price of 3+ additional years. Or, EM, 3-4 years total, you’re done, and make as much as GS…and work way less. Not to mention all of the other positives I’ve mentioned in previous posts. (I know I’m biased, don’t mean to piss off the G.Surgeons out there)

    My point is ER has been great to me. I actually enjoy going to work, and once there the time flies by!! I see and do everything. My nurses are great, my patients need me, and I don’t have to worry about malpractice insurance costs, I get paid well, and my job is way cool!! I direct ambulances to various hospitals around town, I ride in helecoptors and ambulances when transfering critical patients, I deal with disaster medicine, I can do sports medicine…and best of all, I have *plenty* of time with my 15 month old daughter, wonderful husband, and my awesome mother.

    No, it’s not for everyone…but I urge all students to *consider* it as you consider IM and GS.

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