The Emergency Department at Prince of Wales Hospital

Welcome to the Emergency Department at POWH. Here are a couple of features about our Emergency Department that will help you to get to know us:

  • Number of patients per day arriving at our door: 160-180
  • 35-40% arrive by ambulance, the rest arrive by private transport
  • We are referred patients from many sources. Notably, we are designated to receive patients from the following organisations or sites:
  • Kingsford Smith airport
  • Corrective services  - Long Bay

Our Emergency Department is also the access point for specialised services:

  • Toxicology
  • Acute obstetric and gynaecology
  • Hyperbaric Medicine
  • Acute Spinal Injury

Our patients:

We have a diverse range of adult patients. Most have a high order of complexity. We also have a number of patients requiring a team approach. Notably there are patients with a combination of mental health, drug and alcohol and toxicology problems. Hence, you will notice that we extend a team approach to the majority of our patients. In this sense, you will find that you will be part of a multidisciplinary team working together to achieve the best outcome for patients.

Our team:

The diversity of our team matches those of our patients. Our Emergency Department is where a number of professionals of various expertise interact. The pace is usually fast and furious hence we have established important support systems such as our Communication Clerk, IT and clinical support staff. You will find that everyone has an important role to play and that no patient is being cared for by only one person.

We have a joint aim of providing the best care for our patients in the most efficient and time appropriate way. In order to achieve this we have found that the following are essential qualities we demand of ourselves:

  • Respect for all patients and staff
  • Be professional at all times in our communication and actions with patients, family, other staff
  • Support and pursue learning and teaching for all staff
  • Be innovative and responsive to change

What can you learn while you are with us?

We hope you will enjoy the term with us. We also understand that you might find that there is a lot you don’t know, and despite what we say, the volume of staff and patients together with the urgency of the work make the Emergency Department intimidating. Well, we are experienced in taking you through your term. So, trust us when we ask you to follow a few ground rules because the structure we offer you will ensure you achieve the essentials that are the objectives of your term. SO here they are:

  1. Come to the orientation so we can guide you through your short time with us
  2. Ask questions. Your supervisor is your initial access point but everyone is happy to help you
  3. Stay with the timetable and the assigned clinical shifts – there is a reason why they are there
  4. Please follow the person you have been assigned to for the shift – they have been selected for good reasons: eg good teacher, good supervisory skills, fun to be with……..etc

Your specific objectives are:

  1. Understand the Emergency Medicine approach to patients – most of our patients are undifferentiated. That is, they have no diagnosis on arrival and no guarantee that they will not deteriorate
  2. Recognise the sick patient – yes, they are all sick but with different severity of “sickness”. Stick with us and we will show you how to pick the sickest
  3. Understand our first assessment is called “initial assessment and stabilisation” for very good reasons. This is followed by a targeted history and examination
  4. Be proficient in your history and examination
  5. Learning to formulate a “problem list” and a management plan
  6. Communication. The Emergency Department is a great place to fine-tune your communication skills. Clinical Handover is done formally 3 times a day and is a good place to practice and get feedback


After your short time with us, we hope you will be on your way to becoming an excellent junior doctor in the very near future. The exposure to clinical learning including procedural skills will hopefully encourage you to have a focused approach to the rest of your undergraduate years. We hope you will embrace our vision of providing excellence in patient care and our mission of being professional in all sense of the word.

We look forward to having you join us and hope you will become part of our team.

Please contact Kate Sellors at for more info.