Advanced topics in emergency medicine: curriculum development and initial evaluation

West J Emerg Med. 2011 Nov;12(4):543-50. doi: 10.5811/westjem.2011.2.2095.


Background: Emergency medicine (EM) is a young specialty and only recently has a recommended medical student curriculum been developed. Currently, many schools do not require students to complete a mandatory clerkship in EM, and if one is required, it is typically an overview of the specialty.

Objectives: We developed a 10-month longitudinal elective to teach subject matter and skills in EM to fourth-year medical students interested in the specialty. Our goal was producing EM residents with the knowledge and skills to excel at the onset of their residency. We hoped to prove that students participating in this rigorous 10-month longitudinal EM elective would feel well prepared for residency.

Methods: We studied the program with an end-of-the-year, Internet-based, comprehensive course evaluation completed by each participant of the first 2 years of the course. Graduates rated each of the course components by using a 5-point Likert format from "strongly disagree" to "strongly agree," either in terms of whether the component was beneficial to them or whether the course expectations were appropriate, or their perceptions related to the course.

Results: Graduates of this elective have reported feeling well prepared to start residency. The resident-led teaching shifts, Advanced Pediatric Life Support certification, Grand Rounds presentations, Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support proficiency testing, and ultrasound component, were found to be beneficial by all students.

Conclusions: Our faculty believes that participating students will be better prepared for an EM residency than those students just completing a 1-month clerkship. Our data, although limited, lead us to believe that a longitudinal, immersion-type experience assists fourth-year medical students in preparation for residency.