The dividing line between family and emergency medicine is not a line as clear-cut as it used to be. Across America, family doctors are getting involved in a variety of emergency medicine jobs that have been providing increased levels of care in emergency departments of all sizes. In both large metropolitan environments and rural hospitals, the convergence of family and emergency medicine is very real.
The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) has been encouraging the integration of family and emergency medicine for years, according to the Annals of Family Medicine journal. Yet the AAFP maintains that unified policies outlining how family medicine practitioners can contribute to emergency medicine have yet to emerge. Their organization seeks to fill the void until such unified policies are created.
Employment Opportunities for Doctors
For the doctor, a lack of unified policy leaves him or her with only a couple of options for getting involved in emergency medicine jobs. The first option is leaving a traditional family practice in favor of providing family medicine in the ED. As strange as that sounds, such opportunities exist at hospitals around the country.
Such opportunities are increasing in volume thanks to healthcare reform that has more people gaining access to health insurance. Many of the previously uninsured do not have family doctors, so they utilize hospital emergency departments for primary care. This is creating a lot of new opportunities for family medicine within the emergency environment.
For right or wrong, it is what it is. Until the newly insured can be encouraged to find their own family doctors and utilize them accordingly, hospitals will continue looking for family doctors willing to offer their form of medicine in the emergency room. And perhaps the hospital wants to keep things this way. Providing family medicine through the ED certainly brings more paying customers in the door.
Locum Tenens Opportunities
The second option for family practitioners is to take emergency medicine jobs on a locum tenens basis. In other words, the doctor may practice in his/her own office Monday through Thursday, then provide locum services to an area hospital on the weekend. Locum emergency medicine jobs are just as plentiful as permanent placement positions, if not more so.
It should be noted that locums are now an accepted part of the medical community as compared to the poor reception they received in the past. We have come to realize that locums provide a vital service that keeps our hospitals, public health clinics, and private practices moving day after day.
The family doctor getting involved in locum emergency medicine jobs is able to continue in family practice for the bulk of his or her work, then engage in locum work to fill out the schedule and earn some extra money. It is the best of both worlds for those doctors who want to work this way.
In the meantime, temporary staffing agencies are aggressively pursuing doctors interested in locum emergency medicine jobs. Doctors willing to work as locums can virtually write their own tickets given that their services are in such high demand. Locum work is becoming so lucrative in some areas that doctors are choosing to make a career of it rather than going into a more traditional practice.
The convergence of family medicine and emergency medicine jobs is very real. It is reshaping the way Americans are accessing family medicine and primary care. As long as patients are receiving the quality care they need at a cost they can afford, the convergence of the two models is a good thing.