Welcome to Emergency Medicine!

On behalf of the faculty and staff of the Division of Emergency Medicine, we offer you a warm welcome to the Emergency Department (ED) and to the Emergency Medicine Clerkship. This rotation is a spectacular opportunity to gain exposure to, and learn to diagnose and manage a wide variety of clinical illnesses and injuries. On this rotation, you will integrate and use what you have learned on each of your third year specialty rotations. Irrespective of your eventual specialty interests, the Emergency Medicine rotation has many important educational benefits.

During this four-week rotation you will see more patients as the primary provider than during any other one-month period in medical school. Because most ED patients present without an already made diagnosis (i.e. are undifferentiated), you will have an opportunity to more fully develop and fine tune your diagnostic skills, including those related to history-taking, physical diagnosis, and the appropriate use of laboratory and radiographic testing modalities. Additionally, you will learn to develop broad and appropriately prioritized differential diagnoses.

Many patients who present to the ED do so with common outpatient problems (e.g., back pain, headache, minor trauma, upper respiratory tract infections, urinary tract infections) that you will frequently see and manage. These common problems are a crucial component of modern outpatient medicine and are an important aspect of the training of any physician. Other patients will present with acute, potentially life-threatening disease or injury requiring quick therapeutic decisions. You will be an important and integral member of the Emergency Department team responsible for the care of these patients. This will provide you with the knowledge, experience, and self-confidence necessary to effectively diagnose and manage other patients with acute and often life-threatening illness you encounter in your continued training and practice.

You will also have the opportunity to develop skills in several basic and common procedures, including blood draws, insertion of intravenous catheters, incision and drainage of abscesses, laceration repair, and lumbar puncture. You will begin to function at the level of a junior house officer for one of the first times in your medical career. This provides a unique opportunity for observation, instruction, and suggestions for improvement in your medical knowledge and skills. It is our hope and goal that these four weeks will be some of the most rewarding, educational, and enjoyable of your medical school years.

Jamie Shandro, MD & Jared Strote, MD
EM Clerkship co-Directors