Preparing for the Rural Emergency Department
Physicians who complete residency training in Family Medicine are particularly well suited for emergency medicine. After all, these physicians are used to treating a high volume of patients of all ages and health conditions. For this reason, many of the country’s emergency departments – particularly in rural communities – are often staffed by physicians with a strong background in Family Medicine. Due to a shortage of Emergency Medicine-trained physicians currently practicing, family doctors often answer the call of their community and end up working in the ER – even when they didn’t plan that career path in medical school.
One of the challenges that Family Medicine physicians face is the inherent unpredictability associated with working in the ER. For this reason, rural Emergency Departments tend to be a preferable starting point for physicians interested in working in the ER because they don’t experience quite the same consistent volume as their counterparts in urban environments. However, as George Belkowski, MD, explains in a 2016 blog entry titled Taking the Leap from Family Medicine to Rural Emergency Medicine, these hospitals still treat plenty of “[s]ick elderly people—pneumonia, sepsis, or people who can’t live at home anymore for no specific reason other than they’re frail and old.” These rural ERs also see high volumes of trauma patients, pediatric patients, and people who need access to 24/7 care, which is why, “family practice and general medicine folks have a lot of skills that are well suited to working in rural EDs.”
At the American Board of Physician Specialties® (ABPS), we recognize that Family Medicine physicians who practice Emergency Medicine have made a tremendous commitment to their community. There’s no denying that the transition into the ER can be stressful for even the most highly qualified physicians, which is why we believe that highly experienced ER doctors who completed their residency in Family Medicine deserve the opportunity to pursue board certification in their chosen field. With this in mind, we created an opportunity through the Board of Certification in Emergency Medicine® (BCEM) for Family Medicine physicians with extensive firsthand training and experience in the ER to become board certified. This levels the playing field and ensures that our nation’s leading ER doctors can be recognized for their expertise through board certification.
To learn more about the BCEM and the eligibility requirements for becoming board certified in Emergency Medicine, contact the ABPS today.