A career in...
The “disaster medics”
Planning a career in crisis medicine
- By: Guy Rughani, James Smith
In recent years an international effort has been made to formalise the work of doctors treating people caught up in manmade or natural disasters—so called “disaster medics.” In 2006 the American Board of Physician Specialties certified disaster medicine as a specialty.
Disaster training aims to prepare doctors for chaotic situations in the field so that their medical skills can to be used to the maximum.1 Concepts of triage, planning, and efficient team working are critical to smooth running healthcare in challenging locations. The European Society for Emergency Medicine views the specialty as an extension of emergency medicine, but with the added complication of a paucity of resources in terms of location, hospital facilities, equipment, and medical personnel.2
Although the United Kingdom has no disaster medicine courses, centres in Europe and America offer specific training programmes, mainly to postgraduates (see box 1).
Much of the knowledge base of the specialty has