What are the duties of an emergency medicine physician?

Emergency physicians provide medical treatment to patients requiring acute and life-saving care. They must have a medical degree, complete a residency and obtain the proper licensing and credentialing. Emergency medicine physicians often treat patients who have life-threatening conditions. Their primary job functions are to resuscitate and stabilize patients and transition care to an appropriate endpoint whether that be the ICU, general inpatient bed, another provider, another hospital, or home. For this reason, emergency physicians often work as part of a team, with physicians of other specialties and other members of the emergency department staff. Emergency physicians must evaluate a wide variety of ailments, sometimes with little to no information. They must be able to think and act quickly to make a tentative diagnosis and determine the appropriate course of treatment.

Medical Director

A medical director is a physician leader who provides guidance, leadership, oversight and continuous quality improvement for his or her local practice. Generally, he or she may serve as the department director, working closely with the department nursing leader to provide service excellence and optimize department operations.


How to become a medical director

The path to becoming a medical director is not one size fits all. There is not an algorithm every medical director follows on his or her path to leadership. Some medical directors come into the profession with aspirations of moving up the chain of command, while others simply accept new responsibilities as their leadership skills evolve and change.

For those interested in becoming a medical director, we suggest focusing on development of leadership skills and overall performance. Talk to other leaders within your organization and let them know your intentions. This can help you gain valuable feedback and mentorship to help you on your path.

You can also develop your leadership skills through courses or reading books on the subject. If a leadership opportunity presents itself to you, take it. In other leadership roles, you can hone your skills and demonstrate your competence.

Independent Contractor Physician vs. Employed Physician

An increasing number of hospitals and health systems nationwide are contracting with physician service groups to provide coverage for their emergency departments versus employing physicians on their own. When these groups are contracted, the physicians often work as independent contractors.

As independent contractors, physicians take complete control over their finances and benefits. For example, independent contractors’ control the level of retirement funding contributed to their account, insurance deductibles and costs, life insurance plans, continuing medical education, among other benefits. Independent contractors pay for only what is needed and or wanted without worrying about the effect others have on their plans. Plans can be purchased using pre-tax dollars and 100 percent of health insurance premiums are tax deductible.

Explore more information here or on the IRS website.

Curriculum vitae (CV)

A curriculum vitae (CV), often referred to as a resume outside of the medical field, is a brief overview of a provider’s education, qualification, previous work history and experiences.

Nurse Practitioner (NP)

A nurse practitioner (NP) is a licensed medical professional who evaluates patients, writes prescriptions, performs exams, makes diagnoses and creates and executes treatment plans. There is a high demand for nurse practitioners all over the country, and the field is growing each year.

Physician Associate (PA)

A physician associate (PA) is a licensed medical professional who diagnoses illness, develops and manages treatment plans, prescribes medications and serves as a principal healthcare provider for patients. PAs complete thousands of hours of medical training and practice in every medical specialty and state.


When a physician is board-certified, he/she meets nationally recognized standards for experience, education, knowledge and skills. Certification is voluntary and is maintained through continuing medical education (CME) and practice improvement to provide the highest quality patient care in a given specialty or subspecialty.

To be eligible for board certification one must: complete four years of premedical education, earn a medical degree (MD or DO) from a qualified medical school, complete residency in an accredited program, provide letters of attestation from the program director or faculty and obtain an unrestricted medical license to practice in the US or Canada. Eligible candidates for certification then must pass an exam by the specialty board. Currently, there are 24 certified member boards.

Match Day

Match Day refers to the day the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) releases the results to those who applied for residency or fellowship training programs. The applicants are considered “matched” with a specific program included in their selection and rank order listing process.