From the American Academy of Family Practice:
A recent study in Academic Emergency Medicine surmises that a mismatch between future demand for emergency physicians, or EPs, and the number of EPs available will lead to workforce shortages. But according to Perry Pugno, M.D., M.P.H., director of the AAFP Division of Medical Education and a physician workforce expert, family physicians are well-prepared to practice in the emergency medicine setting, especially in rural areas, and could fill those gaps.
“Assessment of Emergency Physician Workforce Needs in the United States, 2005” (4-page PDF; About PDFs) concludes that the number of board-certified EPs is unlikely to meet the future staffing needs of U.S. emergency departments, or EDs. However, Pugno said that although some family physicians might need more training in critical care procedures or new diagnostic tools, they already are working very well in suburban and rural EDs.
In fact, family physicians may be the preferred emergency care providers in rural areas, Pugno told AAFP News Now, because the programs where emergency medicine residents train tend to be in urban trauma centers with lots of technology and consultants. That means the physicians coming out of these residencies may not be prepared to practice in rural areas, where such resources are scarce, he said.