Who is Who in the Emergency Department

In medical emergencies, you will be brought right away to the nearest emergency department of a hospital. This department has qualified and competent staff. Each of them is a health professional performing their duties and collectively act as a backbone of ER. ER is the busiest area of a hospital. Hundreds of people visit it daily. Injured and critical patients can be seen here all the time.

People want quality treatment within no time. With so many people visiting ER, it is quite challenging to ensure the best treatment. In this scenario, the entire staff is required. Different health professionals can be seen working here. Each of them is equally important for an ER to run smoothly. ER staff and their respective roles are discussed below in detail.

Ambulance paramedics

“Paramedics” are health professionals who reach first at the scene of an emergency. Their job is quite demanding and challenging. They are a crew of trained people that arrive at the emergency site in an ambulance. They examine you and make decisions based on the patient’s condition. They provide the basic aid while on the way to a hospital. In most areas, these first responders are called EMTs (emergency medical technicians). In the beginning, they are EMT-basic. After some time, they become EMT-advanced, followed by a paramedic.

Their education and training make them capable of providing advanced treatments and care. Almost 48% of paramedics work in an ambulance, hired by ambulance companies or the hospital itself. On the way towards the hospital, they provide life support by performing clinical procedures and choose the most suitable hospital for the injured/ill person.

Medical care staff

Health care staff at the emergency department include:

  • ER Physicians: They are senior doctors who are specialists and are also called consultants.
  • Residents: They are doctors who will become specialists.
  • Registrars: Interns and residents work under registrars.
  • Medical students: they are undergraduate medical students.
  • Student doctors: They are doctors but are not specialists.
  • Interns: Doctors who are in their first year of practice are called interns.
  • Triage nurse: A triage nurse is a professional emergency care nurse. When you first arrive at an ER, a triage nurse will examine the severity of your condition. They will refer you to a suitable physician for treatment. They are also called specialist nurses. They check blood pressure, oxygen levels, temperature, etc.
  • Nurse practitioner: A skilled senior nurse who can treat some specific health conditions.
  • Registered nurses: They are responsible for the day-to-care of patients under treatment.
  • Enrolled nurses: They provide basic health care and work under senior nurses.
  • Nurse unit manager: manage and run different wards.
  • Associate nurse unit manager: They are second in authority to the nurse unit manager. They help the nurse unit manager to run the wards.
  • CNA (Certified nursing assistant): They work under nurses. They aid people in bathing, oral care, eating, dressing, washroom visits, and other daily life visits. Apart from this, they are of great assistance in emergency rooms. They perform CPR, resuscitations and also act as a helping hand to doctors.

Allied Health Staff

Allied health staff includes people who have been educated from university. They include physiotherapists,

  • Pharmacists
  • Therapists
  • Mental care emergency team
  • general practitioners
  • Dietitians
  • Speech pathologists
  • Occupational therapists

They ensure health and quality of life. They provide treatment and prevent disabilities, infections, and diseases.

Diagnostics staff

During treatment, you may need tests and scans. For this purpose, a special diagnostic staff is available at ER. They constitute:

  • Sonographers
  • Radiographers
  • Radiologists

They are specialized in interpreting imaging tests. They may use various imaging tests like CT, MRI, ultrasound, x-ray, CAT, mammography, PET, and nuclear medicine. Blood tests are also needed. Pathology department aids in performing blood tests. It has laboratory staff that performs testing and then sends the results back to the specialist.

Administrative Staff

They carry out all the paperwork and ensure that the information provided by the patient is correct and complete. They keep a record of all the ER visits. They deal with patient care, data entry, billings and customer service, etc. They are skilled in communication, IT, teamwork, and multi-tasking. Moreover, they are familiar with medical terminologies also. Unit secretaries also belong to administrative staff. They answer phone calls, admit patients, help with billings and filing, etc.

Environmental services staff

They are responsible for hygiene and clean up all the rooms to make sure the hospital stays germ-free. It is significant for ensuring a healthy and infection-free environment. Those hospitals rank on top where the infection ratio is fewer. The environmental staff plays a vital role in this regard.

Other staff

A large support staff takes care of maintenance, meals, transport, administration, security, laundry, etc. They play a crucial role in managing and organizing many tasks for the proper function of large hospitals. It includes:

  • Clinical assistant: they look after the housekeeping inwards.
  • Security staff: the ensure safety and constitutes guards.
  • Patient services assistants: they are responsible for bringing meals to patients.
  • Clerks: they are present at the reception desks of different wards.
  • Porters: they take care of the transport of patients.
  • Volunteers: they are available for fundraising and visiting the wards.

Emergency Department Management

Hospitals tend to have limited resources, so here comes the management. It is important to use the resources for the right patient at the appropriate time. It is a department connected to a hospital, and it is considered the first place to visit for all the people in emergency and non-emergency situations. ER management deals with effective and careful use of available resources keeping in mind whether the patients are insured or uninsured. The management ensures wise use of medicine, supplies, equipment, etc.

They also keep a record of the length of the stay (LOS). It’s the amount of time a person spends in ER. They try to reduce LWBS (leaving without being seen) and DAMA (discharge against medical advice). They prioritize patients’ treatment and satisfaction by properly managing and balancing all the factors.