OCCUPATION THESAURUS

EMERGENCY ROOM PHYSICIAN



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HELPFUL TIP:

How your character makes a living is an important decision. After all, there’s probably a good reason why they chose this career. Think about how they pull on certain talents and skills, have positive or negative traits, and adhere to a specific work ethic to excel. Sometimes characters choose an occupation because of how they were raised, something they experienced, or even an emotional wound, so consider how all of these things will show readers who they are deep down, and why they do what they do.
OVERVIEW:
An ER Physician is a doctor specially trained in trauma who assesses and stabilizes patients admitted to the ER. Different from a trauma surgeon, an ER physician will order lab tests and ex-rays (and interpret the results), administer medication, and deal with a large variety of injuries and illnesses. They may do basic emergency surgery in crisis situations, but with a focus on stabilization so other specialists can then take over. They can carry out or oversee life-saving procedures, set broken bones, attend to lacerations, and refer patients to appropriate medical departments for further treatment (or discharge them as needed). ER Physicians must also keep accurate records of all treatment, tests, and medicines to ensure correct insurance reimbursement (if applicable).

NOTE: Hospitals themselves may determine the type of injuries seen most often in the ER. Depending on geography, designation, and other factors, some may deal with more trauma- and violence-related injuries than others.

NECESSARY TRAINING:
Medical programming that covers theory, labs, and clinical rotations at the undergraduate and graduate level, obtaining a M.D. Degree. These doctors then enter into a program for emergency medicine to become board certified. This program can be 36 months in length and includes clinical rotations, training in trauma care, radiology, orthopedics, patient care, emergency room procedures, resuscitation, and pediatric critical care. ER Physicians must be state licensed.

If you are writing about an ER Physician in a real-world location, research the qualifications and duties for that location as this can fluctuate country-by-country.

USEFUL SKILLS, TALENTS, OR ABILITIES:

HELPFUL POSITIVE TRAITS:

HELPFUL NEGATIVE TRAITS:

EMOTIONAL WOUNDS THAT MAY HAVE FACTORED INTO THIS OCCUPATION CHOICE:
Negative past experiences can come into play in the pursuit of a career. Based on the type of trauma a character has suffered, they may (consciously or subconsciously) choose a job for the following reasons:
  • To avoid situations that might lead to more wounding events
  • Because they're believing a lie
  • Because past trauma forced them to acquire traits or skills that allow for success in this field
  • Due to a need to face past wounds
  • The desire to prove worthiness to themselves or others
  • As punishment for a perceived unworthiness or a past failing

Whether you'd like to show the character coping well with the past in this career field or you want to increase tension through workplace triggers, the following emotional wounds might tie in to this occupation:
ACCIDENTALLY KILLING SOMEONE, A CHILD DYING ON ONE’S WATCH, A LEARNING DISABILITY, A LIFE-THREATENING ACCIDENT, BEARING THE RESPONSIBILITY FOR MANY DEATHS, BECOMING A CAREGIVER AT AN EARLY AGE, BEING HUMILIATED BY OTHERS, BEING RAISED BY PARENTS WHO LOVED CONDITIONALLY, BEING SO BEAUTIFUL IT’S ALL PEOPLE SEE, BEING THE PRODUCT OF A RAPE, BEING TRAPPED WITH A DEAD BODY, BEING UNFAIRLY BLAMED FOR SOMEONE'S DEATH, CRACKING UNDER PRESSURE, FAILING TO DO THE RIGHT THING, FAILING TO SAVE SOMEONE'S LIFE, GROWING UP IN THE SHADOW OF A SUCCESSFUL SIBLING, GROWING UP WITH A SIBLING'S DISABILITY OR CHRONIC ILLNESS, HAVING PARENTS WHO FAVORED ONE CHILD OVER ANOTHER, LEARNING THAT ONE’S PARENT WAS A MONSTER, LOSING A LOVED ONE DUE TO A PROFESSIONAL'S NEGLIGENCE, WATCHING SOMEONE DIE

SOURCES OF FRICTION:
A large-scale crisis with not enough resources and staff to handle it
Patients who are violent or unpredictable
Patients who are untruthful about their medical history
Long hours and exhaustion causing burnout
Hospital politics getting in the way of patient care
Uninsured patients and moral dilemmas
A staff shortage due to illness, egos causing relationship fallout among staff
Office romances and bad judgement
Mislabeled medicines or errors on charts that lead to medical crises
A staff member who is an angel of death
Having a patient who is a celebrity or high-profile criminal and dealing with reporters or fans trying to gain access
Family drama
Patients who try to resist care
Grieving family members suing for a wrongful death
Developing PTSD and trying to hide it
Having a patient come in that one knows (especially a close family member in crisis)
Misdiagnoses
Sending someone home who later dies
Arguments after the fact over how an incident or procedure was handled
Staff members who self-medicate to cope
Medicines, equipment, or supplies being stolen
Arguments in the waiting room
Diseases or viruses that are passed on due to unknown contagions at the time

PEOPLE THEY MIGHT INTERACT WITH:
Other doctors, surgeons, nurses, support staff, police, paramedics, police detectives, family members, insurance representatives, security personnel, pharmacy and medical company reps, delivery people, hospital board members, hospital employees

HOW THIS OCCUPATION MIGHT IMPACT ONE'S BASIC NEEDS:
Self-Actualization: This career requires sacrifices, often of other needs. This could lead to the character experiencing regret later in life for the opportunities missed, especially if one chose this career for the wrong reason (such as to make family members proud or for ego, rather than a desire to help others.)
Esteem and Recognition: A lawsuit or accusation could drag one into the court system or damage one’s reputation with one’s peers and the community. Age, the onset of an illness, or another factor could also cause one’s skills to grow less sharp, leading to self-esteem issues as one begins to contemplate if one is still able to do one’s job well.
Love and Belonging: The long hours and high stress leave little time for love and family. Many broken or distanced relationships and divorces result from too much sacrificed time invested in this career.
Safety and Security: violent patients could create ER escalations that cause injury or death, grieving family members could act on a vendetta for the loss of a loved one, a questionable diagnosis, lawsuit, or complaint could threaten job security.
Physiological Needs: Exposure to contagions put one at risk for illness, and stress, lack of sleep, and other factors can cause serious physical repercussions to one’s health.


TWISTING THE STEREOTYPE:
ER Physicians are often the perfect ideal on steroids–intelligent, fit, the best of the best. Why not choose an ER doctor that has a disability or disfigurement that, rather than hold him or her back, make them exceptional, or the doctor overcomes it through sheer tenacity?

REASONS THE CHARACTER MAY HAVE BEEN DRAWN TO THIS PROFESSION:
The belief that one's calling is to save lives
Having a loved one die in the past from something a good doctor could have prevented
Feeling energized by the idea of playing God
A near-death experience that left one fascinated by life and death
Having a strong interest in the human body and how it works
Following in another family member's footsteps (having generations of doctors in the family)
A need to be looked up to by others (negating feelings of low worth due to a past wound)
Out of duty or obligation (making a promise to a parent in exchange for something one wants most of all)
To be loved and accepted by a parent who only offers conditional love