There is a lot to learn in emergency care! I never managed to get a placement in ‘Casualty’ when I was training, so I was very shocked when someone on the recruitment panel for my first job thought I would be suited to the emergency department (ED). Twenty-five years later, and I am still learning. Unlike other fields of care, pre-registration education prepares clinical staff poorly for emergency care, for the sheer volume and nature of work, for the complexity and often simplicity of the patients’ problems, or the inter-dependency of the professionals working within it.
Clinicians in the ED must generate knowledge and skill across every health-care specialty. They are the textbook generalists—experts in the frontline management of any presentation, but also skilled in accessing specialist help. They assess patients, their families, and the situation around them constantly, to make sense of their patients’ needs. Also, they must respond quickly to public health emergencies while still being committed to developing their services for the chronic shift in population health needs.
Access to applicable and realistic information is essential for care, as patient treatment must be evidence-based for staff to make effective decisions. It contextualizes care in that setting, and it provides a concise overview of the vast range of presentations and skills needed to practice safely while providing plenty of opportunities for further learning. Wherever you are in the world, you are providing emergency care, and you should keep this handbook within reach.