What Is the Definition of Emergency Medicine?

Dr. O John Ma

December 14, 2022

What Is the Definition of Emergency Medicine?

Among many medical careers, emergency medicine is the fastest growing, with some of the highest job growth rates. This career is very important for the health of individuals and communities, as it allows physicians to treat acute medical conditions in the hospital and the community. While this career can be quite demanding, it also provides a rewarding experience for the clinician. The primary duties of an emergency medicine practitioner include diagnosing and treating illnesses and injuries that occur in the acute phase of a patient’s condition, as well as preparing patients for the next stage of their care.

Primary duties

Having a job in emergency medicine means that you can treat patients of all ages and types of illness. Whether they have a life-threatening injury, a sudden onset of symptoms, or pain, your primary duty is to stabilize them.

Emergency medicine doctors work in various hospitals and other medical centers. In addition to providing care for acutely ill patients, they may help in other hospital areas. They may work in minor injury units, on major events, or in regional trauma networks.

The emergency room of a hospital is filled with high-tech equipment. Physicians and other emergency personnel work long hours to ensure every patient gets their attention.


Almost half of the emergency care physicians in the U.S. are board certified. In addition to their certification, practitioners must complete an extensive continuing education program. Approximately 2000 graduates are produced annually. This represents more than half of the total global output.

Historically, emergency medicine has been a relatively young specialty. Although it is still young, it has matured and evolved into an independent medical.

In the United States, the development of the specialty was driven by public need. Emergency medicine has a unique cross-cutting nature, which allows many opportunities for collaboration with other disciplines. During the development of the specialty, many important milestones have been reached.


Getting a degree in emergency medicine can be a rewarding experience. While the field does present some physical and mental challenges, it’s also an empowering career choice. You can impact in various ways, from easing suffering to solving mysteries.

In the real world, emergency medicine is practiced in various settings. These include hospitals, observation medicine units, and telehealth. In some countries, an E.M. specialist may even ride in an ambulance. In other countries, an E.M. specialist might work for a government health department or private hospital. In the U.K., an E.M. physician can also work for a private hospital with an emergency department, a National Health Service (NHS) hospital, or a public hospital with an EMS service.


Unlike other specialties, emergency medicine is a frontline job that requires fast action and multi-patient care. There are many positives and negatives associated with this job. Some benefits include a good salary, a great career opportunity, and a high-paced work environment. On the downside, the number of patients you treat will be quite high. You may also have to relocate, making your job more stressful.

Another disadvantage of the emergency medicine field is that you may need to find out which patient you will be caring for on a given day. This means you must spend a lot of time getting to know your patients.

FACEMs and FACEM trainees discuss their roles

Even though emergency departments vary in size and work practices, they all share common factors. These include high scrutiny from the public, other departments, and the wider community. These factors contribute to the need for a system of quality management.

Efficient work practices are essential to clinical performance and job satisfaction. They require a commitment to change, effective leadership, and monitoring to ensure the desired outcome.

An emergency department is typically a mid-sized clinical unit with staff numbers ranging from 30 to 200. It provides services to a wide range of patients, from minor complaints to those with life-threatening illnesses.

EMTALA is a medical emergency

During the 1980s, the United States passed the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act, a law designed to protect patients and prevent hospitals from dumping uninsured patients. The law also set standards for screening, transferring, and stabilizing patients.

The law required clinicians to determine whether a patient has an “emergency medical condition” (EMC) and perform an “MSE,” or medical screening examination. It also mandated that clinicians stabilize the condition if it was severe enough to warrant an immediate transfer.

EMTALA is a complex law that has far-reaching implications for the medical community. It affects not only physicians but hospital staff, on-call physicians, and the entire emergency department.