Lesson Plan – The First Day in the Emergency Department

Picture the scene…

You are just about to start in the Emergency Department as part of your training rotation. You’ve never “done ED” before and have no idea what to expect…

Learning Objective

To learn about what it is like working in the Emergency Department.

RCEM Curriculum

CC1, CC2, CC3, CC4

Read this blog post​1​ from St Emlyn’s. Focus especially on the “Top Ten Tips” as we will be coming back to these at regular intervals!

Listen to this St Emlyn’s podcast with Simon and Iain, which accompnies the blogpost.

Here the facilitator should lead a discussion into their department’s philosophy. Let the learners explore their anxieties. For seasoned EM professionals we can sometimes forget just how intimidating and scary it can be starting in Emergency Medicine. This may be the first time they have ever been responsible for discharging a patient.

In this session we have discussed what it’s is like to working Emergency Medicine.

Remember especially these top ten tips…

  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?’. Always try to make a difference, however small (it may “just” be getting them an extra blanket)
  5. No patient (almost) wants to be in the ED. They really don’t. It wasn’t what they planned for their day.
  6. Spend twice as long with patients you don’t like or don’t get on with.
  7. Look the part. Be smart. Behave in the way you would expect anyone to behave towards you.
  8. Be on time. Always. Ansd leave on time if at all possible.
  9. Take your breaks – eat when you can and drink water when you can’t.
  10. Enjoy yourself…

Think about what you what to get out of this placement. What do you want to learn? What are you anxious about? Where would you go for support? Do you have any questions or anxieties that weren’t addressed in the session?



  1. 1
    Beardsell I. An Introduction to Emergency Medicine. St Emlyns. 2014; published online July 24. https://www.stemlynsblog.org/induction-introduction/ (accessed June 16, 2020).