The emergency medicine workforce is an important issue with ramifications for physicians relocating or retiring, medical students considering the specialty, and graduating residents seeking their first jobs.
Explore This IssueACEP Now: Vol 42 – No 11 – November 2023
In August 2021, an article published in the Annals of Emergency Medicine projected a surplus of more than 7,800 emergency physicians in 2030 based on multiple scenarios, including patterns of supply and demand for emergency physicians at that time.1 The workforce in emergency medicine is constantly in flux, and dependent on numerous factors. It is important to monitor key issues, including annual emergency department (ED) visits, geographic distribution of physicians, and the equilibrium between new entrants and retirees in the workforce. This report provides information on the 2023 job search for the most recent residency graduates.
The American Board of Emergency Medicine (ABEM) provides an opportunity for residents to express their experience and insights annually through an optional anonymous survey distributed at the same time as the annual in-training examination. This report is from the most recent survey administered in February 2023.
Study participants included 9,202 emergency medicine residents from 275 emergency medicine residency programs. Residents from combined programs were not included. The survey sampled 2,711 residents in the final year of their training.
The majority of respondents (84.4 percent) had been offered positions in emergency medicine. Most respondents (72.7 percent) reported no difficulty in finding positions. Graduating residents varied significantly in the number of jobs they applied to with the highest percentage of respondents (42.7 percent) noted that they had applied for between one to three positions (range: one to ten). 295 respondents answered “N/A” which approximates to the 295 individuals matching into Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) accredited emergency medicine fellowships.2
Respondents were spread across the full range of educational debt, ranging from none to greater than $400,000, and with 62.6 percent of respondents reporting debt burdens of $200,000 or above.
While there is growing concern that emergency medicine graduates will have difficulty finding employment, the results of this survey show that the vast majority of graduates have already been offered a job and only a small percentage (three percent) have not received any job offer, four months prior to graduation.
Educational debt is of specific concern to graduating residents. The data from this year compared to similar data in 2019 shows fewer individuals with lower amounts of debt. 37.3 percent of 2023 graduates have over $300,000 in educational debt compared to 32.1 percent of graduates in 2019.
Dr. Marco is a professor of emergency medicine at Penn State Health-Milton S. Hershey Medical Center in Hershey, Pa., and associate editor of ACEP Now.
Dr. Ling is in the department of emergency medicine at the University of Minnesota Medical School in Minneapolis, Minn.
Dr. Gallahue is the program director emeritus of the emergency medicine residency, and a professor in the department of emergency medicine at the University of Washington in Seattle.
Mr. Salsberg is lead research scientist at the George Washington University Mullan Institute for Health Workforce Equity in Washington, D.C.
Dr. Courtney is a professor and vice chair of academic affairs in the department of emergency medicine at the University of Texas Southwestern, in Dallas.
- Marco CA, Courtney DM, Ling LJ, et al. The Emergency Medicine Physician Workforce: Projections for 2030. Ann Emerg Med. 2021;78(6):726-737.
- NRMP 2023 match data: results and data.Washington, DC: National Resident Matching Program; 2023. Available here.