I have worked in the ER twice in the past two weeks and I have say, I am not impressed. Some people in my class love emergency medicine but I am not one of them. The pace is very...irregular.
I arrived for the 7am to 3pm shift and the first two hours were big snoozes. Nothing happens. And when something does, a patient comes in, the nurses deal with all the preliminary stabilizing and history-taking and then we (the doctor and I) go in and talk to them for five minutes to get more information about why they came in and then we leave. Next, tests are run. Then, when the results come back, they either confirm a diagnosis and the patient is admitted to the hospital (which basically means the patient is handed off from the ER to another specialty (pulmonology if it's a lung problem, cardiology if it's a heart problem, etc)). Or, the patient is fine and we send them home.
What I realized after shadowing the first time was that I dislike the lack of relationships in the ER. Sure, it's similar to family medicine in the sense that you have to know a lot and you have to know what tests to run to confirm your knowledge, but then the patient goes bye-bye (to another doctor, not to heaven, ha) and you never see them again. One of the things I have managed to figure out this summer is, I like relationships. I like actually knowing things about patients. I like maintaining said relationships. Who would have thunk, Miss Anti-Social would actually like talking to patients? Ha. The world sure is funny sometimes.