How EM Certification Benefits Both Physicians and Rural Hospitals
The shortage of qualified emergency medicine physicians remains acute, particularly in rural areas. The fact that more hospitals are prioritizing hiring board certified physicians only compounds the problem. But at the American Board of Physician Specialties® (ABPS), we believe that if the benefits of physician board certification were more widely appreciated, the medical community would make significant inroads into reversing this years-long shortage.
In a 2016 blog entry titled “Taking the Leap from Family Medicine to Rural Emergency Medicine,” ABPS Diplomate George Belkowski, MD, said: “The need for emergency medicine physicians to fill roles in rural hospitals has never been greater. The benefits are numerous and the challenges are manageable.”
Let’s start with the challenges. EM physicians in rural areas often work in understaffed hospitals, where, in order to meet their community’s needs, they must work in high-volume, high-risk emergency departments. Even when rural EM practitioners treat fewer patients than they would in an urban hospital, they typically have fewer resources to call upon. As Dr. Belkowski explained, in rural hospitals, your resources to gain experience are essentially limited to colleagues in your specialty. If you are a non-residency trained EM physician, though, you face yet another challenge, regardless of where you practice – the strong likelihood that, despite your qualifications and proven skills, you will be denied career opportunities because you lack board certification in EM.
This is highly unfortunate as it also robs hospitals of the chance to utilize the expertise that these EM physicians offer. After all, career EM physicians show, day in, day out, that they are quick thinkers who have the calm demeanor to deliver critical care in a stressful emergency room environment.
That’s why, in an effort to improve emergency care across the nation, the ABPS proudly offers board certification in EM. When physicians earn certification through our Member Board, the Board of Certification in Emergency Medicine (BCEM), they demonstrate that they are eminently qualified to practice their specialty at the highest level. Through performance and the rigorous testing required to earn BCEM certification, physicians not only become more marketable to potential employers, they also demonstrate their competency to colleagues and patients alike.
Therein lies the benefits of BCEM certification to rural hospitals. As a mark of medical distinction, BCEM certification inspires the trust of patients, which then enhances a hospital’s reputation. Understandably, rural hospital managers would be well-served to emphasize hiring respected practitioners, such as BCEM Diplomates, who can heighten their facility’s prestige by giving patients the medical care they deserve.
If you are a career EM physician considering pursuing board certification, or if you are a rural hospital manager who would like more information about the BCEM, contact the ABPS today.