Some emergency medicine residents face difficulty finding jobs

Residency Program Insider, March 9, 2021

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While emergency medicine (EM) residents have historically entered a robust job market, the COVID-19 pandemic has struck emergency departments (ED) particularly hard, drying up job prospects.

According to Mark Reiter, MD, MBA, director of the EM residency program at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center College of Medicine in Nashville, in a normal year, most EM residents would have already accepted a position by the winter. He estimates that as of January, more than a quarter of EM residents were still looking for jobs.

Job prospects for EM residents have decreased as some EDs attempt to decrease costs to make up for lower patient volumes. Some patients have avoided visits to EDs out of fear of contracting COVID-19. Less people on the roads due to the pandemic also meant fewer car accidents and trips to EDs. Some EDs were also used as boarding areas for COVID-19 patients, resulting in longer waits, which drove some patients away before being seen.  

Visits to EDs declined 40% or more early in the pandemic and patient volumes are still down by one-fifth in some communities, says American College of Emergency Physicians President Mark Rosenberg, DO, MBA.

With fewer job prospects, some EM residents have widened their job searches to geographic locations they may not have considered otherwise or facilities with smaller patient populations than they would prefer. EM residents also have the option of pursuing a fellowship, which buys them more time before entering the workforce but delays them from a earning a real income, which may not be an option for those with considerable debts.   

Source: AAMC


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