Tara O'Connell

Tara O'Connell

Emergency Medicine Physician

Newport Emergency Medical Group

Newport Beach, CA USA

In medicine, it is unforgivable to not have passion. If you don’t love what you do, it will show and we are in the business of people. There are plenty of professions you can engage in without passion and not affect anybody else.


My road in life took a while to figure out.
In 1995, I graduated from Laguna Beach High School.
Attended the University of California, Santa Cruz with the goal of studying photography, but I only spent two years there.
Took a pause and decided to attend community college in order to consider my next steps.
While attending community college and exploring different career options, I found my passion in medicine.
Spent my last few years of undergrad at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo and graduated with my degree in nutrition.
Went to the University of Minnesota for medical school—attended Regions Hospital Emergency Medicine Residency program for three years and graduated in 2009.
While pregnant with my first child, I moved back to California with my husband to look for my first job in medicine.
Currently, I work as an Emergency Medicine Physician at Hoag Hospital in Newport Beach.


High School
Clinical Nutrition/Nutritionist
California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo
University of Minnesota-Twin Cities


Emergency Medicine Physician

I am an emergency room physician who is prepared to treat anything, anytime, anywhere.

Career Roadmap

My work combines:
My work combines:
Helping People

Day to Day

The thing about working in an emergency room is that you have to be prepared to treat any mental or physical ailment on any body part of anyone who walks through the door, so my days are always different. Some of the more routine things I treat are chest pains, pneumonia, abdominal discomfort, muscular-skeletal pain, psychiatric care, broken bones, major/minor lacerations, etc. There is always a sense of excitement and trepidation because you never know what might walk in the door that day.

Skills & Qualities Beyond School

You have to be comfortable with the knowledge that you won't and can't know everything. Part of your strength as an emergency room physician will be treating what can be treated immediately and working to find answers for everything else tomorrow. Learn to manage your expectations (of your work and of yourself). Commit to continuous learning, know how to persevere through tough times, and have compassion for the person behind the ailment you are treating.

Advice for Getting Started

Here's the first step for college students

Intern or shadow someone in a variety of health professions so you can see the ins and outs and figure out which area interests you the most. Use this time to reflect on what you want to gain out of working in a particular health field (schooling needed, time commitments, stress of the work, etc.).

Recommended Education

My career is related to what I studied. I'd recommend the path I took:

Clinical Nutrition/Nutritionist


The Noise I Shed

From Myself:

"My personality isn't suited to the rigor of medical school."

Challenges I Overcame

Work Stress
School Stress
Changed Major