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How competitive am I for an EM match?

Emergency Medicine is one of 8 specialities that had 100% fill in the 2012 match. Of the 1,668 positions available, all of them filled. This means you couldn’t scramble into a position if you didn’t match. This doesn’t mean it’s impossible to get a position in an EM residency, but you got to play it smart. Let’s look at the numbers.

What do residency directors look for in their applicants?

Hello prospective Emergency Physicians. Dr. Casey and I have created this note to help maneuver through some of the documents that the NRMP (National Residency Matching Program) put out, specifically in regards to matching in Emergency Medicine. Our hope is that this can answer some of your questions before we meet, so we can spend our time together answering questions pertinent to your specific situation. In this first post, we’ll look at the Results of the NRMP Program Directors Survey 2012.

Radiolab: End of Life Care

radiolab_logoThere was an amazing piece on the Radiolab podcast this week (Jan 15, 2013) on perceptions of end-of-life care. This is an issue that we face in the Emergency Department as we see many patients who present in their last minutes. This may be an acute exacerbation of a chronically ill person or an acutely injured patient.

Our instinct and training is to “do something,” so it is hard to sit on the sidelines and do nothing. Sometimes the family or patient can give us an indication of what their wishes are. Sometimes we are faced with the decision of discontinuing a resuscitation which may be pointless.

Listen to the podcast and feel free to comment below. There are no right or wrong answers, just a discussion. Let me know what you feel about it.

Article: End of Life Issues in the Acute and Critically Ill Patient
Blog post from doctor mentioned in podcast: How doctors die

How to write good discharge instructions

Discharge instructions are often provided as an after-thought. You’ve gone through a complex diagnostic process, interpreted various tests and imaging and initiated life saving treatment. After several high-fives, now it’s time for the patient to go home. Your job is done. Throw some pre-printed instructions at the patient, they’re on their way, and you’re on to your next patient.

But think about what the discharge instructions represent. Your patient probably only spent a few hours with you. They will be spending days with whatever information you give them to take home. This is continuation of therapy. This information is vital for the patient. This frames their ultimate understanding of what happened in the ER and what needs to happen next.

So let’s learn to do it properly. Watch the following video on how to write good discharge instructions and then bring a set of instructions you (or your attending) wrote to class. Let’s see how you did.

Is Emergency Medicine right for me?

I always found this to be a very difficult question. It’s just like having to guess if being a physician is right for you. There’s really no way to know until you’re already a doctor, living the doctor’s life. And by this point… it’s too late! You can never really know until you’re living the EM life, but you stil have to make the choice. So…