The Pros and Cons of Emergency Medicine as a specialty

Today we host some thoughts on the positives and negatives of practicing Emergency Medicine from Dr. Broders. This post contains pearls on what you should consider in EM. For more, check out this EM Mindset piece by Dr. Broders:

Author: A. Compton Broders, MD, MMM, FACEP (Professor, UT Southwestern) // Edited by: Alex Koyfman, MD (@EMHighAK, EM Attending Physician, UTSW / Parkland Memorial Hospital) and Brit Long, MD (@long_brit)


  1. Exciting and varied
  2. Time Control
  3. Pay ok
  4. Learning specialty
  5. Worthwhile work
  6. Center of healthcare
  7. Great prep for healthcare leadership


  1. Grossly abnormal time schedule.
  2. Night and holiday work
  3. Sometimes lack of system support
  4. Sometimes chaotic
  5. Frequent difficult patients


  1. No long term patient relationships
  2. No continuity of care
  3. Varied pace of work
  4. All patients cared for without regard to ability to pay
  5. Work with a wide variety of professionals

Historical perspective:

When EM started it was disrespected; not now

Reasons people leave

  1. Night work
  2. Frustration with emergency patients

Personal traits of physicians with a long emergency career

  1. Large sense of humor
  2. Sense of whimsy about human frailties
  3. Tolerance
  4. Some degree of insensitivity to human suffering
  5. Biologic clock in center of day
  6. Intellectual curiosity
  7. Strong outside interests
  8. Good Support systems
  9. Some comfort with work messiness

Thanks for reading! Please post any thoughts you have below.

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