How to get the most out of your placement in the emergency department
Working in an emergency department is a great opportunity to learn how acutely unwell patients are managed and to practise your clinical skills
- By: James Bowen, Thom Fox
The fast paced nature of the emergency department might seem an intimidating environment, with an average of 40 people presenting to these departments every minute across the United Kingdom.1
A placement in an emergency department provides a unique opportunity to see patients at what is often the first presentation of their pathology, which is as yet undiagnosed and unmanaged.2 It is also an ideal place to build your clinical confidence by practising your history taking and examination skills and to see how the wider hospital works together.3 This article gives an overview of how the department operates and provides advice on how to prepare so that you have a productive and enjoyable placement.
The set-up of each emergency department differs slightly between hospitals, but generally patients are allocated to different areas by a senior nurse, depending on their clinical presentation. The most common areas in most emergency departments are resuscitation