Message from Department Head

Welcome to the Department of Emergency Medicine

Only a few decades ago across Canada, hospitals staffed their “ERs” with rotating locum physicians or unsupervised hospital house staff (read residents). By the end of the last century, these out-patient or emergency rooms were replaced by appropriately equipped modern emergency departments staffed by emergency physicians defined by their postgraduate education in resuscitation and stabilization of the critically ill and injured patient, their approach to decision-making in the undifferentiated and unexpected health event, and their experience in designing and coordinating integrated systems of patient management across the continuum of acute care.

Now, as we move to the future, emergency medicine (EM) is at the interface of many parts of the evolving healthcare system with the potential to act as a catalyst in further integrating and improving the system. EM is often a decision-making point that potentially connects primary and tertiary care, pre-hospital and in-hospital care and in-hospital and home care once again. Simultaneously, acute and chronic care are connected in our milieu as well as disease centered and whole person care providing a multifaceted interface impacting all facets of care with linkages to all specialties across medicine. In that context, EM is a generalist discipline in its breadth of knowledge-base and its scope of practice, while a specialty in its depth of knowledge  of acute and resuscitation medicine and approach to caring for acute, unexpected and undifferentiated health events.

By its nature, emergency medical care is delivered in multi-disciplinary teams collaborating and coordinating their efforts both in our department and beyond in the service of our patient population.

The Dalhousie Department of Emergency Medicine (DEM) plays a vital role in providing excellence in clinical care guided by its vision of improved health outcomes for patients of all ages through influential research, education, and the development of leaders in emergency medicine.

Given the resistant challenges to the delivery of EM care due to hospital access-block (read overcrowding) in recent years, it has been impressive how our core values and people have remained committed and shown a resiliency that is turning the tide. In fact, necessity and challenge has led to innovation and change. Our people are our greatest strength, making the Department of Emergency Medicine thrive. From our diverse interprofessional teams, our learners, and importantly our patients, we learn, grow and collaborate to provide the best possible care to our communities.

As the discipline matures within our evolving health care system, we remain focused and steadfast in providing the best in clinical patient care through top notch medical education, quality, and outcomes research, to fulfill our mission through our four strategic directions:

  • Enhancing patient care (More timely access to high quality emergency medicine embedded in integrated networks of care)
  • Educating doctors and health care teams of the future (Be at the forefront of medical education ensuring competence, inspiring excellence, and developing leaders in Emergency Medicine)
  • Advancing research (A productive and collaborative research engine that emphasizes improving patient outcomes through research and knowledge translation); and
  • Strengthening our people, organizational governance and operations (Effective, efficient, and adaptable support of the Department of Emergency Medicine core initiatives by engaged leaders and teams who create the conditions for emergence).