How is critical care medicine different from emergency medicine?

Cynthia Kubas , NASM Elite Trainer
Cynthia Kubas , NASM Elite Trainer
Sports Medicine Specialist

Think of the difference in terms of the degree of urgency. Emergency Medicine is administered in response to an unexpected event, whether it be a cut requiring a bandaid, or a heart attack which requires immediate intervention to save a life. It is care administered on an "urgent" basis. Critical care medicine is given to patients who are seriously ill or injured on a continuous basis after the initial treatment, and may be required for days or weels generally before the patient is stabilized and able to receive less intensive monitoring and intervention. Most hospitals have both an emergency room and a critical care unit.

Continue Learning about Critical Care

Is an intensive care unit (ICU) different than an emergency room (ER)?
Intensive care and emergency room are two different areas of a hospital. Learn more from our experts...
More Answers
What happens in the emergency room (ER) examination room?
The medical condition bringing you to the emergency room determines much of what happens in the exam...
More Answers
Can my family stay with me in critical care?
Learn how your family can stay with you in critical care.
More Answers
Are registered nurses and critical care nurses the same?
A registered nurse and a critical care nurse are referring to two different things. Learn more from ...
More Answers

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.