COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — There is some concern among those who work in emergency medicine that not as many people are interested in pursuing that specialty of the field.
Doctors say it’s a nationwide trend that’s also taking place at Ohio State University.
“I think we are starting to see a real noticeable decline in the number of students pursuing emergency medicine, and we’ll see if that changes or improves,” said Dr. Nicholas Kman, an emergency department physician at the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center and professor of emergency medicine at Ohio State.
At Ohio State and around the country, there aren’t as many applicants for emergency medicine residencies as there once were. Kman said it’s something he’s noticed the last two application cycles.
“It’s something that bears monitoring for sure, but I don’t think it’s time to panic over in 10 years not having emergency physicians to do the work we need to do,” he said.
Usually about 10% of Ohio State’s class of medical students in their final year pursue emergency medicine, Kman said. Recently, that’s down to about 6% or 7%.
Kman said he believes a contributing factor is the conditions surrounding working in emergency medicine. He said one of the biggest reasons is a report in a national medical journal that predicted by 2030 that there would be more emergency doctors than jobs available.
“I think people panicked a little bit after the workforce report that came out last year, and I think things will probably settle down and hopefully our specialty will continue to be served by excellent students and residents,” said Kman.
Ohio State has several pipeline programs aimed at getting kids interested in the field. Through partnerships with Columbus City Schools, Ohio State gives students at the elementary level and up opportunities to learn more about medical professions and see what they are like.
“It is my hope that the more exposure we give kids to the opportunities that we have, that we won’t see an emergency medicine desert in the future,” said Tei Y. Street, education director of Health Sciences Academies at Ohio State.
Even with the decline, Kman meets with medical students regularly who are still interested in emergency medicine.
“There’s job security in emergency medicine, there’s plenty of patients, so we’re as essential in medicine as we’ve ever been and I think that we can rely on moving forward with students going into emergency medicine,” he said.