What Family Medicine Residency Program Directors Should Let Residents Interested in Emergency Medicine Know
There’s no lack of information regarding the contributions of family physicians to our healthcare system, particularly in emergency medicine. Without these professionals, it’s a simple fact that many parts of the country would be without adequate emergency medical care.
The shortage of emergency physicians is especially acute in rural areas, where emergency departments have long relied on the services of doctors trained in family medicine. Like emergency medicine physicians, family doctors are considered generalists who routinely see patients regardless of age, gender, or medical condition. In rural and other underserved areas, where the ER is often the only access to health care, family medicine training makes physicians the nearly ideal emergency services professional, capable of providing a wide spectrum of medical care.
Unfortunately, family doctors working in ERs are often not granted the same level of professional respect as colleagues with residency training in emergency medicine. To distinguish themselves, family physicians with extensive ER experience seek out certification in emergency medicine with the Board of Certification in Emergency Medicine (BCEM), a Member Board of the nationally recognized American Board of Physician Specialties®. BCEM certification serves as demonstrable proof that a physician has the skills and knowledge to deliver safe and effective emergency care.
The good news for family medicine residents is that they don’t need to also complete an emergency medicine residency to be eligible for BCEM certification. Family medicine doctors with a minimum of five years and 7,000 hours of ER casework are eligible to apply with the BCEM, as are family physicians who have completed graduate training in an emergency medicine fellowship approved by the American Academy of Emergency Physicians (AAEP). Fellowships recognized by the AAEP meet the high training standards that allow physicians to demonstrate mastery in emergency medicine through BCEM certification.
We encourage you to inform your family medicine residents who are interested in emergency medicine about BCEM.