Dr Farhat Zarei is an Emergency Medicine consultant working in several metropolitan hospitals. Today, we talk to him about what drew him to this field and the pathway he pursued to enter it. He discusses how students can make the most of clinical and research opportunities to maximise their skill set, and what advice he wishes he had as an intern. Moreover, his insights into the lifestyle and job opportunities show a side of the profession that may be different from what we expect of a typical consultant.

We go into detail about how he handles the variety and unpredictability each day brings as a consultant, which involves more than simply diagnosing and managing patients. This includes the importance of managing the “chaos” that is patient flow in addition to the multiple ED teams that may be working alongside each other.

Our discussion touches on where he sees the profession in the near future, both from a logistical and technological standpoint. Farhat informs us as to the benefits of the lifestyle the profession offers and how this contrasts with the stress of control multiple aspects of patient care simultaneously on the job.

Listener Questions

We had a specific question for an ED consultant from one of our listeners! Jimmy asked: “I would just like to know more about the longevity of the job as many in this field move to a different specialty or retire past the age of 50.”

We posed this to ED consultants and asked for their response. We’ve boiled down their response into the following key points:

  • You can’t work in ED full time for the rest of your life.
  • Very few emergency physicians work full time over the age of 50, you’ll burn out if you do so.
  • Most emergency physicians have a side gig which they might commit 50% of their time to
  • Side gigs include working in education, administration/management, quality assurance, ICU, retrieval medicine, toxicology and medico-legal.
  • You’ll always do shift work as an ED consultant, but you tend not to do any overnight shifts, as it will be the registrars who take those shifts.
  • Emergency physicians are quite desirable from a health service perspective because of their broad experiences.

We hope you guys enjoy this podcast! Feel free to send through any questions you may have for Dr Farhat Zarei, and give us feedback on this week’s episode by filling out the survey.

Pathways into Emergency Medicine:

Medical School → Internship → Provisional ED Training (1yr) → Advanced ED Training (4yrs) → Consultant

Source: Australian College of Emergency Medicine


According to the Australian Government Taxation Data, in the 2013-14 income year we had:

  • 474 female emergency medicine specialists earning an average of $165,786
  • 829 male emergency medicine specialists earning an average of $232,595
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We’d also like to give a quick shoutout to Melbourne artist SNED for composing the music accompanying our introduction.

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TMC010: Emergency Medicine with Dr Farhat Zarei
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