Dr Paul Wroz is a Polish doctor who works in Canada. We will talk to him about his experience as an emergency doctor. He was born in Szczecin and lived there till he was 9 when his parents moved to work in Nigeria. Most of his extended family is from Poznań.
What made you decide to become an emergency doctor?
There are a few reasons for choosing a career as an Emergency Physician.
First, one is exposed to a variety of medical disciplines, which keeps things interesting. One has the opportunity to practice a range of skills, from Cardiology, Internal Medicine, Toxicology, Pediatrics, Orthopaedics and so on. There is a lot of opportunity to use manual skills as well, whether it’s anasthesia, wound repair, or orthopadic reductions. Emergency Medicine is a relatively new specialty which has evolved tremendously over the last few decades and continues to grow quickly.
I like the team aspect of an Emergency department where I am challenged in a leadership role.
Second, I do not require an office or the associated costs and headaches that come with running a business.
Third, the shift schedule, though sometimes frustrating, can have its advantages as well. For example, when my children were very young I was able to participate in their care at different times of day and week.
What education do you need to get in Canada to become an emergency doctor?
There are two ways to become a certified Emergency Physician in Canada. Both require an undergraduate university degree (usually 4 years), Medical School degree (4 years), then either a Family Medicine Residency (2 Years) with an additional Emergency Medicine training year. Alternatively, there is a 5-year Emergency program instead of Family Medicine and extra year residency. The 5-year program tends to involve a year of research and most graduates from that program work in bigger centers with more academic opportunities.
What are the main difficulties in your job?
Difficulties of the job tend to be related to lack of resources, such as lack of beds in the hospital, lack of primary care physicians in the community where patients can be followed, and shortage of certain specialists.
I work in a fairly major regional center where our department sees over 70,000 emergency visits per year, so the volume can sometimes be overwhelming.
Shift work tends to become more difficult as one gets older.
What do you like about your job?
As mentioned above, the opportunity to practice virtually all aspects of medicine makes my job interesting and fun.
Can you describe your typical work?
I typically work 14 shifts per month, as well as 2 Trauma Team Leader shifts where I am on call to manage any major traumas. We have 9 shifts a day in our department ranging from 6 to 8 hours long. At peak hours there are 2 to 4 doctors working at the same time. Between 2:00 am and 6:30 am there is only single coverage. Most of us have an equal mix of all types of shifts, which means I work days, afternoons, evenings, and on average 2 night shifts per month.
Will you come and visit us for the opening of the new Hospital in Żywiec?
My family and I visited Krakow this summer so a return visit would not be out of the question as we all had a great time