What Does Life After Emergency Medicine Look Like?

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When I was in residency I received an academic survey asking if I thought I would be practicing EM in 5 years. Only a few years later, ACEP commissioned a study which posed the same question. Everyone wants to know: is there life after emergency medicine? And if so, what does it look like?

ABEM has long been concerned about longevity in EM and has incorporated wellness questions from the beginning of its Longitudinal Survey. Some of the latest results related to longevity are helpful (taken from 870 responding physicians) [1].

Less than 1% indicated a current impairment, but 4% indicated they had suspended practice at some point in their career due a physical impairment. Less than 1% reported a mental impairment.Of the 4% not involved in clinical practice, 60% were in administration, 43% teaching, 26% consulting, and 23% research.


ABEM also conducted a retired physician survey. Current age ranged from 47-83 with a median of 64 years. Of this group, 25% reported an impairment that would require accommodation in order to work. All but two indicated they had suspended practice because of a physical impairment, the remaining two indicating physical and/or mental impairment. Principal reasons cited for retirement were health issues and problems with EM work.

An Alternate Occupations survey was also completed by 63 former EPs. Ten percent of respondents cited some kind of mobility or other impairment which had limited practice in EM. The alternate occupations were not specified in the selected results.

When EPs cease to practice, with the exception of past officers of ACEP (who pop up fairly regularly at SA), we don’t tend to see them too often. Please do participate in our survey and encourage others to do likewise. The results will be shared in a forthcoming issue, hopefully long before you will need absolutely to know: Is there life after EM?


Click here to participate in Dr. Andrew’s survey. 

1. Selected Results of the 2007 Longitudinal Study of Emergency Physician Interim Surveys, ABEM


EXECUTIVE EDITOR Dr. Andrew is a past chair of the ACEP Wellness Committee. Dr. Andrew founded MDMentor.com

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