María Fernanda Arévalo Rodríguez - Scholarship essay

Submitted 2022-11-01

Emergency Medicine from a Medical Student’s Perspective

During my university career I have read and learned about what is the -Emergency Medicine-, but not only by books but by practice in the emergency room, so I can conclude that it is an area that is responsible for giving all that comprehensive care that is given to an individual to save the functionality/permanence of an organ or limb to his life, which has been attacked by unforeseen situations; I emphasize the word “individual”, because although there are algorithms of how to act according to the type of crisis to stabilize and thus reduce the possibility of errors in treating patients but is must be remembered that NOT ALL PEOPLE RESPOND THE SAME TO TREATMENT, since behind each person there are a host of factors which can make their evolution better or worse, thus, although in most cases we have to performance with great speed, we must obtain as much information as possible like information for identification, pathological background, medications, allergies, the situation of the incident, all this helps us to increase the possibility that the diagnosis is timely giving us the opportunity to give the most accurate treatment, improving their prognosis.

Many times when we are unable to get information from the patient, our best tool will be the taking of vital signs, since we will respond according to the ranges in which the heart rate, respiratory rate, blood pressure, oxygen saturation, among others.

The ideal is to be able to make a diagnosis based on physical examination and anamnesis of the patient, but laboratories such as blood biometry, blood chemistry, glycosylated hemoglobin, blood enzyme concentration, toxicology, imaging studies like x-ray or ultrasound, etc. are of great support to confirm diagnoses and the most appropriate treatment.

In a utopian world the ideal would be to treat all those who come to the emergency room immediately, but the reality is that many time if not most hospitals, especially in public hospital do not have enough staff or material to treat everyone at the same time, that is why we are trained to perform “Triage” of those patients who arrive at the emergency room, which is sometimes complex due to the symptoms they present, an example of this is when they come with abdominal pain, a syndrome which has various etiologies but with different levels of severity.

Decision-making is a skill that is learned with time and experience, so the more we practice, the more confident we will feel when acting in stressful situations that may cause us to hesitate. We must remember that who has the facility to make decisions, he must be the leader in each team.

A skill that must be put into practice is to know how to work as a team and understand the role that each member of group has at the time of attending an emergency, at that moment everyone has the same relevance, but for this to work communication is the key to everything, you must maintain an atmosphere of respect but speaking loud enough to announce the actions that everyone is doing, thus achieving optimal job.

In these situations, every second counts, that is why foresight and planning will be our allies, because if we have notice of the situation that occurred, we can prepare the necessary supplies and staff, thus gaining time.

Our mission as health personnel is summarized in seeking the patient’s wellbeing, but how can we achieve the same with ourselves? As young students we tend to be reckless in terms of the care we require, we tend to believe we are invincible but the reality is that many times we fall apart and we are not honest enough to admit it and ask for support giving excuses such as lack of time or that there are people who have bigger problems, sometimes forgetting how exhausting our profession can be, that is why we must have psychological support to avoid developing diseases such as depression and anxiety, which day by day more people are presenting them, especially health personnel, generating losses of all kinds.

One aspect that we tend to forget is that in order to care for our patients we must take care of our health, with the same indications that we usually give them and that we sometimes decide not to apply to ourselves, such as having a nutritious and balanced diet, exercising regularly, engaging in leisure activities that allow us to regulate our stress levels, sleeping an average of 7 hours a day and seeking to balance our work and personal life.