Let’s Get This Party Started. Starting at St.Emlyn’s

It’s that time of year in the UK again, when the last strawberry at Wimbledon has been consumed, village fetes offer cream teas to a brass band accompaniment and children discard school uniforms for six weeks of holiday bliss. But for those of us who work in healthcare it’s even more exciting. A new team of enthusiastic, bright eyed, ambitious medics is about to hit the wards. For now we’ll discard the scaremongering of the press describing it as the “Killing Season”  (statistical analysis says this probably doesn’t exist) and see this as a chance to welcome this happy band into our beautiful world, where we heal the sick, laugh like the cast of Scrubs and all look like the cast of ER.

OK, so, I admit,  it’s not quite like that. In fact for doctors about to start work in the Emergency Department it can be a nervous and fearful time. Our esteemed British Press has been full of stories of the “Crisis in A&E” (sic) but we at St Emlyn’s want to reassure you that rather than being worried you can be excited as you enter what we believe is one of the most fulfilling jobs a medic can ever do. After all, working in an Emergency Department is the very embodiment of what being a doctor is all about.

We want to do all we can to help guide you through those first few days and weeks and so have devised an educational programme that you can use in conjunction with those provided by your own departments. We have recorded a series of podcasts on some of the more common “presenting complaints” and linked these to other resources. We are big (very big!) fans of online education and “FOAMed” (Free Open Access Medical Education). All of the sites we will recommend share this philosophy and each post will have links to some of the great resources available worldwide.

In this first post we are focusing on the approach to the patient in the ED, as this may differ somewhat from what you were taught at medical school.

To start have a listen to this podcast where Simon and I discuss the approach to the patient in the ED

As we mentioned in the podcast a few years ago the team at Southampton recorded a series of induction lectures – this is the one I did about the approach to the sick patient that reinforces what we discussed in the podcast

Hopefully, after listening and watching you have thoughts about the structure you might want to use when you approach a patient in the ED.

Social media is also a great place to turn to for advice. A few years ago discussion on Twitter developed into the hashtag “tipsfornewdocs” and the topic is resurrected annually. You can see some of these pearls of wisdom through the links below.


Symplur transcript here

BMA version (2014) here  

GMC version here


As you can see everyone has their own top tips but here are mine (some of which you will have heard before!):

  1. Respect those around you and value their opinion
  2. The History is everything
  3. There are 4 key treatments we give in the ED – think whether every patient you see needs any of these and you will save lives and relieve pain
    1. Oxygen
    2. Fluids
    3. Analgesia
    4. Antibiotics
  4. Think ‘What difference have I made to this patient?’
  5. No patient (almost) wants to be in the ED.
  6. Spend twice as long with patients you don’t like or don’t get on with.
  7. Look the part.
  8. Be on time.
  9. Take your breaks – eat when you can and drink water when you can’t.
  10. Enjoy yourself…

So lots to think about (and we’ve barely got started!) Please post any tips or comments you might have in the section below – we would love to hear from you. And welcome again to the most exciting specialty in medicine. It’s going to be a blast.











Posted by Iain Beardsell

Dr Iain Beardsell. MBChB (Birm) FRCEM is section lead for podcasts. Editorial Board Member St Emlyn’s blog and podcast. He is a Consultant in Emergency Medicine at University Hospital Southampton and a Consultant in Pre Hospital Emergency Medicine. Iain qualified in 1998 and over the past 20 years has trained and practiced medicine in major teaching hospitals both in the UK and overseas. He has been a consultant at University Hospital Southampton for the past ten years, including a three year term as the unit’s Clinical Director. UHS is the main Major Trauma Centre for the South Coast region of England as well as the eighth largest hospital in the UK. Iain is also a highly regarded advisor to television medical dramas, including Casualty and Good Karma Hospital. An acclaimed speaker, Iain has spoken at international conferences in Australia, Ireland, Austria and Germany as well as across the UK. You will find him on twitter as @docib

  1. […] – And don’t forget to listen to the podcast and blog post on getting started in […]


Thanks so much for following. Viva la #FOAMed

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