The role of an EM physician

EM physicians have specialist skills in resuscitation and in the diagnosis and management of patients affected by an acute or urgent injury or illness. With a strong belief in evidence-based medicine and a wide range of procedural and technical skills, EM physicians provide care for patients of all ages and coordinate acute care within the health system.

Watch this video of EM physicians discussing their careers:

Key attributes of an EM physician

‘Work in EM is non-stop, demanding, intense and highly-varied.' It requires decisiveness, teamwork, resilience and excellent interpersonal skills as well as a breadth of knowledge across all facets of medicine.(Judkins, 2015).

EM physicians must:

  • Think fast on their feet
  • See the big picture while also being alert to the smallest details
  • Make good decisions and solve problems
  • Lead a team of health professionals to provide urgent patient care
  • Work across many facets of medicine
  • Have a broad knowledge-base of medicine including anatomy, pathology, physiology and pharmacology.

Challenges experienced by EM physicians

EM physicians experience many challenges including often very busy work environments and over-crowded emergency departments.

ACEM Fellows and Trainees provide an insight into their work through anecdotal videos available at readEDstories. You can also read about their experiences and work in Inside ACEM.


EM physicians typically work eight to ten hours at a time and four to five shifts per week.


Job opportunities in EM are advertised on the ACEM Jobs in EM page. This page is updated regularly and may give you an idea of where a career in EM can take you.

Gain inside knowledge

Gain inside knowledge of the speciality by volunteering at our five day Annual Scientific Meetings. The event provides insight into all facets of the specialty, from the latest research to inspiring and knowledgeable speakers from around the world. Email [email protected] to enquire about volunteering opportunities.

Supporting Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and Māori medical students and graduates

ACEM is committed to growing the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and Māori emergency physician workforce and integrating cultural safety into emergency departments. The College provides a range of services and initiatives to support Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and Māori medical students and trainees along their pathway to specialisation in emergency medicine. More information can be found here.

Apply and Qualify for EM

To become a Fellow of ACEM, you must complete the FACEM Training Program (see further information on How to Apply).

ACEM provides several other pathways to train in EM:

Get in touch

There are a number of ways to get in touch and find out more about the ACEM training pathways:

  1. Contact ACEM to discuss training pathways. 
    The following staff are available to provide support to prospective and current Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and Māori trainees:
    Gabrielle Ebsworth, Project Lead, Indigenous Health
    E: [email protected]
    T: (03) 8679 8816 
    Annie Vassil, Coordinator, Training Services
    E: [email protected]
    T:  (03) 8679 8871
  2. Attend an ACEM event or look out for ACEM staff at various medical events around Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand
  3. Contact the Specialist International Medical Graduate team: [email protected]
  4. Contact the Indigenous Health and Cultural Competency team to learn more about the educational work ACEM is doing in Indigenous Health: [email protected]