Day in the Life of an Emergency Medicine Rotation

Hello everyone!

I know it has been awhile (sorry!). I have been super busy with school, life and everything in between, so I know I have not been able to update you guys on what has been going on my journey through PA school.

I recently completed my first two rotations, which were Emergency Medicine and General Surgery!! I cannot believe that I am 25% finished with my rotations, and in less than 9 months I graduate! A lot of people have been asking questions about my typical day during my Emergency Medicine rotation, and I knew I wanted to make a post speaking about both rotations, so here it is!

As some of you guys might know, the emergency room is unique as it is one of the few specialties where you usually do not have a set schedule, and you can work a variety of shifts from morning, evening or overnight, and the shifts may last anywhere from 8-12 hours. Most EM PAs/NPs/nurses/MDs/DOs work 3-4 days a week, which is considered full-time. During my EM rotation, I worked anywhere from 2-5 days a week, and I was required to work the different shifts. The shifts at this site was 10 hours, and there was one 12-hour shift, which was tailored for low acuity complaints.

8:00AM: Wake up after hitting my snooze button probably 3 times, and head to the kitchen. I make a cup of water with apple cider vinegar and eat a yogurt. If I was working an evening shift, I would work out and study in the morning prior to go into my shift.

8:30AM: Work out. I am currently doing 80 days obsession, which I love! These are at-home workouts, which are super convenient for me because one of my biggest hurdles for working out was leaving my house! LOL

9:30AM: Work out complete! I shower, wash my face, brush my teeth, and then make a protein shake along with oatmeal

10:30AM: Study time! I also made sure I reviewed cases from my previous shift, and those topics that are high-yield on the end-of-rotation exams. I used resources such as PANCE Pearl Prep, Medscape and Epocrates to look up specific topics, and then I would use Rosh Review and Smarty PANCE to test my knowledge by taking practice questions

1:00PM: I eat lunch, and then start getting my stuff ready for my shift. I pack a whole bunch of snacks, and I always make sure that I drink an extra cup of coffee! Since I was working in the ER, the dress code is chill, and we could wear scrubs, so I usually just threw on our school scrubs and I would bring a fleece jacket because it is often cold in the ER.

2:20PM: I leave my house to head to the hospital! My apartment is only 15-20 minutes from the hospital depending on traffic, so I always make sure that I leave my apartment a little early just in case traffic was heavy

2:45PM: I arrive at the hospital, find a parking space, and make my walk to the ER. My shift starts at 3PM, so I am a little early. I like getting to the hospital early, so that I can find a place to sit and get myself situated.

3:00PM: My physician arrives, and they assign me my first patient to see. I review the triage note, any previous records if available, and then I see the patient. I make sure I get a full, concise history and perform a physical exam. I then present the patient to my physician and relay them my assessment and plan. My preceptor and I go see the patient together, and they either agree or disagree with my assessment. Afterwards, I am given another patient to go see.

10:30PM: The ER starts slowing down, and the overnight physician’s shift starts, so my preceptor and I usually stop picking up patients. The ER is so diverse, and every shift is different! It is filled with a lot of procedures such as: suturing, I&D, paracentesis, intubations, joint aspirations, etc., and the patient’s can be very complex! I worked at a trauma hospital, so I was able to witness trauma patients as well.

11:45PM: My preceptor and I dispositioned all our patients, and he allows me to go home early! I give them my evaluation sheet, ask for any feedback, and collect my belongings and go home.

12:20AM: I finally get home. I am exhausted! I eat a small snack, shower, and get ready for bed!

1:00AM: By this time, I am in bed, and I fall asleep shortly after.

This is how a typical day while working in the ER is, but depending on your shift time, my day might have been slightly different. I loved my ER rotation! The staff was so friendly, and the physicians were so fun to work with! I learned a lot and I was able to do a lot of procedures as well. I sutured, did I&D, assisted in a paracentesis, central line and intubation, a ton of pelvic exams, placed a suprapubic catheter and IVs, and I also did CPR on a patient! Overall, I loved my ER rotation, and I cannot wait to see what my other rotations have in store for me!

-- Amber xoxo


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