Emergency medicine specialist


Also known as:

  • Emergency physician

What they do

Emergency medicine specialists identify and immediately manage serious and life-threatening situations. They face a wide range of medical and surgical problems, and as such need general expertise across many areas. Their main role is to care for and stabilise critically-ill patients of all age groups.

In emergency medicine every day is different and unpredictable and specialists can encounter anything from patients with sore throats to those who have been in major accidents.

The majority of emergency medicine specialists practising in Western Australia, do so in the Perth metropolitan area.

Working conditions

Emergency medicine is highly intensive - most work opportunities are in emergency departments of public hospitals.

The emergency department is often a hectic and pressured environment. Emergency medicine is one of the most hands-on specialities with constant variety.

Specialists work flexible, rostered (some shift) hours with some on-call responsibilities. Specialists are not responsible for their patients once they have left the emergency department.

Tools and technologies

Emergency medicine specialists are generalists and as such need to have a broad understanding of tools and technologies needed to diagnose, resuscitate and carry out procedures for every major illness that can occur. For example, it is expected that emergency medicine specialists can:

  • interpret diagnostic imaging
  • apply pharmacological knowledge (including recent developments and reviews of drugs)
  • use knowledge to select and manage appropriate equipment.

How do I become one?

Education and training

To become an emergency medicine specialist, you must first become a qualified medical practitioner and then specialise in emergency medicine.

To become a medical practitioner, you need to study a degree in medicine. Alternatively, you can study a degree in any discipline followed by a postgraduate degree in medicine.

Some universities in Western Australia offer relevant courses. Contact the universities you are interested in for more information.

To specialise in emergency medicine, doctors can apply to Australasian College for Emergency Medicine to undertake further training and ultimately receive Fellowship.

To be eligible for this specialist training, on completion of your medical degree, you must work in the public hospital system for a minimum of two years (internship and residency).

Required registration and licensing

To work as an emergency medicine specialist in Western Australia, you will need to obtain registration from the Medical Board of Australia.