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How Much Do ER Doctors Make

By David Krug 3 minute read

Medical disciplines such as emergency medicine don’t merely have the highest salaries. As a result, it commonly appears in popular culture as a subset of the medical profession. Emergency medicine may not be what you think if you enter the field with unrealistic expectations. 

Real ER doctors see a lot more patients, but they don’t spend as much time with them or provide as much care. Despite what you see on the screen, the reality of working in this sector is far from glamorous or cinematic.

Observing More Patients in Fewer Roles for Shorter Durations

In media representations of hospitals, it’s not uncommon for the same doctor to take on many roles in the treatment of a single patient, according to St. George’s University.

A common misconception among aspiring emergency room doctors is that once they meet a patient in the emergency room, they would have access to them throughout their hospital stay, be responsible for evaluating their test findings, and even perform non-emergency surgery.

That’s a good idea in fiction, but it doesn’t apply in real life. After a patient is admitted to the hospital, additional specialists in different specialties, from radiology to anesthesia to general surgery, offer treatment to that patient in their area of specialty.

There may be several dozen additional patients seen by the ER doctor during their shift. The ER doctor isn’t the only doctor a patient sees, and that patient is only one of many that an ER doctor is accountable for, despite what you see on TV.

So TV programs only get half of what ER physicians actually do right, which is that they execute a wide range of jobs for the sake of the patients they are treating.

The David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA said that an emergency medicine practitioner may perform things like examine the patient, evaluate their medical condition and requirements, conduct diagnostic testing, offer blood transfusions, and even intubate a patient who is unable to breathe on their own. 

However, the scope of your employment is frequently restricted to the emergency room. Real ER physicians don’t have the time to roam the hospital corridors seeking for patients to treat.

They’re already occupied with a large number of people at the emergency department. While treating patients in the ER, ER doctors may collaborate with specialists such as cardiologists and trauma surgeons.

Less Glamourous and Dramatic in Real Life Than on TV

You wouldn’t want to see a TV show about an ER doctor’s average day. Although it can be exhilarating, it definitely wouldn’t be the most enjoyable television show. When you think of your favorite medical television shows, drama is the most important term.

The extra drama is what keeps people coming back for more, season after season. To put it another way, working in an ER is a lot less exciting than watching a movie or TV show about an ER.

However, this mismatch isn’t always a bad thing. A lot of the things that make these series so enjoyable to watch would make working in their imaginary medical facilities unappealing as well.

According to the University of Washington Medicine, television producers may create a dramatic impact when their storylines exaggerate and condemn doctors, but this sort of aggressive or eccentric attitude is not frequent in actual emergency departments.

Working in an emergency room may put a lot of strain on doctors and other healthcare personnel. 

However, a doctor who often yells at their coworkers or repeatedly ignores hospital procedures and directives would be a distraction and a liability – certainly not someone with whom other physicians would want to work.

A dramatization in TV emergency rooms extends to the quantity of blood that is displayed on television as well as interpersonal connections and stories in general.

When it comes to medical procedures, present television shows are less accurate than those created before and during the 1980s when the Physicians Advisory Committee (PAC) helped make media portrayals of medical subjects more realistic.

TV shows, despite their eagerness to portray blood, seldom reflect the reality of the awful odors and body fluid messes that actual ER physicians see on a daily basis.

David Krug