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How Do I Become an Emergency Care Specialist?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Shereen Skola
  • Last Modified Date: 21 November 2016
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Someone who wants to become an emergency care specialist needs medical training with a focus on providing urgent care to patients in crisis. This field consists of doctors, nurses, technicians, and a number of other allied health professionals. The level of training required depends on the kind of job a medical professional is interested in. Continuing education is also an important part of emergency care services, to ensure that medical personnel can provide treatment according to the latest guidelines to reduce the risk of complications for their patients.

Preparation for doctors includes an undergraduate degree followed by formal training in medical school and a residency in emergency medicine, which can last two to three years. It’s also possible to pursue a fellowship to become an emergency care specialist. Fellowships provide advanced training and additional clinical skills, and can enhance the level of care available. This medical specialty requires the ability to think and act quickly while mixing skills from a variety of medical specialties to aid patients with head injuries, cardiac problems, and other issues. After patients are stabilized, they can be referred to additional care providers.

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Nurses and medical technicians need formal education in programs that can last two to six years, or sometimes even longer. A variety of nursing certifications are available along with programs to train emergency medical technicians, paramedics, imaging technicians, and other personnel who provide support in emergency settings. Trainees in a program to become an emergency care specialist have opportunities to acquire clinical experience in emergency settings and may have an opportunity to take advanced courses in particular topics.

This training includes discussions of a variety of issues that pertain to emergency environments. Care providers in a location like a busy emergency room can see a variety of cases and need to be adequately prepared for them all. Someone who wants to become an emergency care specialist may handle patients with heart attacks, psychiatric emergencies, and serious injuries in a single night on shift, and thus needs to keep up with advances in all areas of medicine.

Continuing education includes conferences, workshops, and trade publications. Some facilities may sponsor periodic classes to allow people to acquire or renew certifications or learn more about specific developments in the field. People with an interest in emergency medicine careers may also consider joining professional organizations to be able to keep up with developments in the field and establish a professional network that might lead to job offers and training opportunities.

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