5 Challenges of Working in the Emergency Department

The emergency department of any hospital is a high-pressure environment where medical staff are faced with many challenges. Ambulances come and go, people come in off the streets with all sorts of injuries. Weekends can be particularly busy and trying times. It takes a certain calibre of person to be…

The emergency department of any hospital is a high-pressure environment where medical staff are faced with many challenges. Ambulances come and go, people come in off the streets with all sorts of injuries. Weekends can be particularly busy and trying times. It takes a certain calibre of person to be successful as an emergency department worker, but it’s also a vital role that can offer a lot of job satisfaction.

It doesn’t matter what role a worker in the emergency department is tasked with. Everyone is often under pressure, but in particular, doctors face certain challenges and responsibilities such as:

#1 – Working In a 24/7 Working Environment

This aspect of working in the hospital’s emergency department can have its advantages along with creating a stressful environment. The most notable advantage of a 24/7 working situation is having a degree of flexibility when it comes to choosing the hours and days you work and there is always the opportunity for some overtime.

However, because the emergency department never closes, long and stressful work hours could become the norm and this takes a major toll on both the body and the mind. Long hours are just one of the many challenges facing emergency medicine.

#2 – Weekends Can Be Very Hectic

Anyone who has ever worked in the emergency department of a hospital will know that weekends are the busiest time of the week. For starters, many Australians go out drinking on Friday and Saturday nights. This can lead to accidents, along with injuries from fights and other alcohol-fueled incidents.

With people enjoying their weekends off from work and getting out and about during the day, there’s also more chance of other types of accidents occurring, where the victim ends up at the hospital’s emergency department for urgent treatment.

Weekends generally mean hectic times for emergency department workers. This can lead to long hours and constantly dealing with stressful situations, including people who are intoxicated.

#3 – Life and Death Decisions Need To Be Made

Possibly one of the hardest parts of working in this high-pressure environment as a doctor is that quite often you’ll be called upon to make decisions that could prove the difference between life and death of a patient. These decisions need to be made very quickly and accurately. This means head doctors are under tremendous pressure not to make the wrong call, as a patient’s life is often literally in their hands. Get it wrong and the result could lead to a fatality, something everyone involved then has to live with.

This is not to suggest that working in the emergency department is all stressful and not rewarding. Many lives are saved by emergency department personnel all the time and there’s nothing that’s going to create more job satisfaction than that.

#4 – High-Pressure Environments Create High Levels of Stress

The high-pressure nature of emergency medicine can be very stressful. Emergency departments are filled with medical staff performing all sorts of roles, from the ambulance personnel right through to the consulting doctor. At times, particularly on weekends or following a major incident, the emergency department can be swamped with workers and patients. It’s hectic, it’s crowded and important work needs to be carried out fast amid times of chaos.

#5 – No Private Practice Opportunity

Other specialists such as Surgeons, Anaesthetists and O&G Specialists are able to earn far higher incomes in private practice than working purely in the public hospital system. Although there are some Emergency Departments run by private hospitals the salaries on offer are similar to the salaries at a public hospital so there is no opportunity as an Emergency Medicine Specialist to earn a higher income in private practice.

Searching for Work In An Emergency Department?

The emergency department of any hospital is a vibrant place to work for a variety of reasons. Although there can be periods where stress levels are very high, it’s also an extremely rewarding place in which to perform medicine and put your skills to the test.

If you’re currently searching for emergency medicine job, seek professional assistance from JPS Medical Recruitment.

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