A study of the workforce in emergency medicine

J. C. Moorhead, M. E. Gallery, T. Mannle, W. C. Chaney, L. C. Conrad, W. C. Dalsey, S. Herman, R. S. Hockberger, S. C. McDonald, D. C. Packard, M. T. Rapp, Jr Rorrie, R. W. Schafemeyer, R. Schulman, D. C. Whitehead, C. Hirschkorn, P. Hogan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


Study objective: Emergency medicine has progressed significantly since its initial recognition as a medical specialty. Relatively little factual information is known however regarding who or how many physicians practice emergency medicine. The purpose of this study is to determine the total number of physicians practicing clinical emergency medicine during a specified period to describe certain characteristics of those individuals to estimate the total number of full-Time equivalents (FTEs) as well as the total number of individuals needed to staff those FTEs. Methods: Data were gathered from a survey of a random sample of 2062 hospitals drawn from a population of 5220 hospitals reported by the American Hospital Association as having or potentially having an emergency department. The survey instrument addressed items such as descriptive data on the institution enumeration of physicians in the ED as well as the total number working during the period June 1 1997 through June 14 1997. Demographic data on the individuals were also collected. Results: A total of 942 hospitals responded (a 45.7% return rate). These hospitals reported a total of 5872 physicians were working during the specified period or an average of 7.48 persons scheduled per institution. The physicians were scheduled for a total of 297062 hours. The average standard for FTE was 40 clinical hours per week. This equates to 3713 FTEs or 4.96 FTEs per institution. The ratio of persons to FTEs was 1.51:1. With regard to demographics 83% of the physicians were men 81% were white. Their average age was 42 years. As to professional credentials 58% were emergency medicine-Residency trained 53% were board certified in emergency medicine 46% were certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine. Conclusion: Given that there are 4945 hospitals with EDs given that the data indicate there are 4.96 FTEs per ED the total number of FTEs is projected to be 24548 (standard error=437). Given further that the data indicate a physician/FTE ratio of 1.51:1 we conclude that there are 36990 persons (standard error=683) needed to staff those FTEs. 32026.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)595-607
Number of pages13
JournalAnnals of emergency medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1998
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine


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