Health Service Categories and Careers


Emergency Medicine (EM) is concerned with assessing and stabilising patients who are suffering an acute or urgent injury or illness, and who require immediate medical attention and care. It deals with a variety of clinical presentations, and the full spectrum of physical and behavioural emergencies. Common presentations include chest pain, shortness of breath, trauma, abdominal pain, altered mental state disorders, and infectious disease. Underpinned by the medical sciences, including anatomy, pathology, physiology and pharmacology, Emergency Medicine training builds clinical skills in acute care, resuscitation, toxicology, sepsis, trauma, and analgesia. Other important elements are retrieval medicine, clinical communication, teamwork, and decision making relevant to critical care. Emergency Medicine is practiced in hospitals by specialised teams across emergency departments and other critical care units. Care is coordinated with emergency services in the out-of-hospital environment such as GP clinics, ambulances, or disaster locations. EM staff work in very busy, and sometimes overcrowded work environments.

Subspecialties in emergency medicine include: Emergency medicine (Anaesthesiology critical care medicine), Emergency medicine (Emergency medical services), Emergency medicine (Hospice and palliative medicine), Emergency medicine (Internal medicine/Critical care medicine),Emergency medicine (Medical toxicology), Emergency medicine (Pain medicine), Emergency medicine (Sports medicine), and Emergency medicine (Undersea and hyperbaric medicine).

Emergency Medicine Jobs

Specialist Emergency Physicians are skilled in resuscitation and in the diagnosis and management of critically ill and injured patients. EM physicians develop a wide range of procedural and technical skills and experience a variety of subspecialties and clinical situations. They provide safe and effective immediate care, collaborate with other specialist doctors, and coordinate care within the health system. Doctors can train in Emergency Medicine (EM) by undertaking the certificate or diploma in EM offered by the Australasian College for Emergency Medicine (ACEM). The ACEM Fellowship Training Program is a minimum five-year training program open to doctors from their third postgraduate year (PGY3) and leads to specialist registration with the Australian Medical Board (AHPRA).

Registrars (Emergency Medicine) are doctors who are undertaking specialist training in Emergency Medicine. They are important members of the multi-disciplinary emergency department team. They are supported by senior medical specialists, and receive structured training, but at times they will be the most senior doctor on duty and are responsible for overseeing medical students, junior doctors, nurses and other staff. Emergency medicine registrars manage and provide emergency care for patients with immediate and acute health care needs, which often involve urgent and life-threatening injuries or conditions. Presentations to ED can be complex and involve medical and psychiatric comorbidities. Emergency medicine registrars provide inpatient care, including clinical assessment and management, coordination of acute care within the hospital system – including referral to specialist clinics, discharge and ongoing treatment. They are skilled in emergency medical procedures and techniques such as resuscitation and airway management. They are involved in research and data collection, and positions often involve on call and after-hours rosters. Registrar positions in emergency medicine are available to doctors from PGY3 who are registered with the Medical Board of Australia (AHPRA) and have interest and experience in emergency medicine. Registrars can apply to undertake the 5-year training program with the Australian College of Emergency Medicine (ACEM), which leads to Fellowship and Specialist Registration with AHPRA.

Nurses who work in the emergency department have specialised skills and important knowledge regarding emergency nursing care and the integrated emergency health care system. Registered nurses are supported by a team of senior nurses, including nurse managers, clinical nurse consultants, and clinical nurse educators, and they all work within the interprofessional emergency health care team. Nursing in the ED involves a range of responsibilities and specialisations, which can include charge nursing, triage, intensive care/critical care/high-dependency care, trauma care, cardiac care, and ongoing nursing care by monitoring, maintaining clinical records, responding to patient call buttons, and providing holistic patient care during the acute phase until discharge. Responsibilities can include preparation of care plans, bone setting, blood transfusions, wound care, medication administration, record-keeping of all the resuscitation data and applications, and post-trauma care. ED nurses need to manage their time and complex workloads within busy environments. They follow appropriate care protocols, and communicate with patients and their families, as well as medical specialists. They undertake professional development and usually work rostered shifts including weekends and after hours. To work in emergency medicine, registered nurses can undertake post graduate qualifications in emergency or critical care nursing, advanced cardiac life support or paediatric life support. However, often roles are available for registered nurses who have an interest and experience in emergency and ICU nursing and commitment to professional development