Emergency Doctor

Job Description:

Emergency doctors carry out rapid and urgent assessment and treatment of patients with serious illnesses and injuries.

Job Category:
Health Care & Social Assistance

What you will do:

Emergency doctors have to quickly diagnose and treat critical illnesses and injuries with little or no information about the patient. Some of the more serious conditions include the following:

  • Severe bleeding
  • Trauma to the brain or other major organs
  • Broken bones
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Emergency doctors must be good at organising & prioritising what to do and directing their team to this end.

Communication with distressed patients and their families is also a frequent part of the job.


You’ll need:

  • knowledge of healthcare and medicine
  • knowledge of public safety and security
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

You will need the following:

  • The ability to make difficult decisions
  • Calmness and focus under pressure
  • Very strong teamwork skills – the ability to work well with others
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Leadership and management skills
  • sensitivity and understanding
    customer service skills
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • to be flexible, adaptable and open to change
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

To become an emergency doctor, you will need to follow a specific educational path that includes earning a medical degree. This typically involves several years of education beyond high school. While your GCSE subjects are important in shaping your academic foundation, there is no specific set of GCSE subjects required to become an emergency doctor. However, there are subjects that can help you prepare for the prerequisites and make you a competitive candidate for medical school.

Here are the recommended GCSE subjects and steps to become an emergency doctor:

  1. Science Subjects: Biology and Chemistry are important subjects that provide a strong foundation for medical studies. These subjects are typically required or highly recommended by most medical schools. Taking both at the GCSE level is advantageous.
  2. Mathematics: Strong mathematical skills are important in medicine for tasks such as calculating medication dosages and interpreting medical data. It’s often a requirement for medical school entry.
  3. English: Good communication skills are crucial in the medical field. English language and literature will help you develop these skills.
  4. Physics: While not always a strict requirement, physics can be helpful, as it is relevant to understanding certain aspects of medicine and medical equipment.
  5. Additional Science Subjects: If your school offers additional science subjects like human biology or applied science, these can be beneficial in expanding your knowledge.
  6. Other Subjects: Consider subjects that improve your critical thinking, problem-solving, and communication skills. Subjects like psychology, sociology, or even a modern foreign language can be valuable.
    After completing your GCSEs, the next steps to become an emergency doctor include:

A-Levels or Equivalent: After completing your GCSEs, you’ll typically need to take A-levels or an equivalent qualification (e.g., International Baccalaureate) to meet the entry requirements for medical school. A-levels in Biology and Chemistry are usually essential.

Post School

  1. Bachelor’s Degree in Medicine (MBBS/MD): After successfully completing your A-levels or equivalent, you’ll need to enroll in a medical school program to earn a Bachelor’s degree in Medicine. This typically takes five to six years.
  2. Foundation Year: In many countries, after medical school, you’ll complete a foundation year or internship to gain practical experience and learn clinical skills.
  3. Specialization in Emergency Medicine: After the foundation year, you can pursue specialization in emergency medicine, which involves additional training and residency programs.
  4. Licensing and Certification: Obtain the necessary licenses and certifications to practice as a medical doctor, which typically involves passing relevant exams.

You’ll need:

  • a 5-year degree in medicine, recognised by the medical council of the country you intend to work in
  • a 2-year foundation course of general training
  • At least 2-3 years of specialist training

It’s also a good idea to do research and be knowledgeable about related areas of medicine, such as intensive care medicine or acute internal medicine.

Working Hours and Environment:

Like many medical professionals, emergency doctors sometimes work long and irregular hours and are often expected to be on call outside those hours, such as at the weekends or in the evenings. With major A&E departments open 24 hours a day, emergency doctors can expect regular night-time and weekend work.

Most of your time will be spent in the A&E department of a hospital, but sometimes you may work in minor injuries units or walk-in centres. You may even be called to assist at the scene of major accidents. Interaction with patients and colleagues will be very frequent.

Career Path & Progression:

Emergency doctors may choose to develop what’s known as a ‘sub-specialty’ – i.e. a specialty within emergency care – such as paediatric emergency medicine (working with children) or pre-hospital emergency medicine (providing care before the patient goes to hospital, e.g. at the scene of an accident). This means they will have increased expertise in that area and may be called upon by colleagues to advise on treatment or other procedures.

With experience, there is potential for managerial opportunities – leading a team, a department, or even an entire hospital trust.

You may also progress to teaching and training students, trainee doctors and other healthcare professionals.