Healthcare professionals of all education and experience levels are needed in emergency medicine, from high school grads to doctorate level physicians and everything in between.
In speaking with professionals who specialize in emergency medicine, it's evident that this type of medicine is not ideal for everyone. Some workers prefer to build relationships with patients and have some continuity of care. Emergency medicine is more episodic. (Which is also why it's great for TV!) But that's why many emergency care professionals enjoy emergency medicine. Emergency medical professionals enjoy being able to quickly treat or "fix" acute health issues, and then sending the patient on his or her way. At that time, the emergency medical professional can then move on to the next patient and the next issue.
Bear in mind, however, that not all emergency patients will be cured - as an emergency medical professional, you may lose some of your patients. Therefore, you must be emotionally capable of experiencing death on the job, which can be very draining and stressful over time, particularly if you work at a very large, busy ER that sees a lot of severe trauma patients. If you think you can handle the downside of the emergency department (death) and you are interested in the fast-paced work environment, one of these careers in emergency medicine may be ideal for you!
Emergency medicine physicians work in the emergency department of a hospital. They typically work 12 hour shifts, but may work 8-10 hour shifts, in which case they would work more shifts per week. Depending on the size of the hospital and trauma level handled at a given hospital, the physician may have to deal with very severe cases of trauma, or more minor emergencies.
One of the key roles nurses often play in an emergency department is that of triage - triage is the process of prioritizing patients in order of urgency or importance. Patients in the most critical condition are treated first, especially if their lives are endangered. This is one of the most important roles in the ER as it determines the patient flow and efficacy of the emergency department as a whole.
Nurses also work with physicians to help assess patient's condition by taking vital signs, asking screening questions if the patient is able to answer them, and helping to run tests.