Emergency Medicine as a specialty approaches patients in a slightly different way from other specialties. We first look to rule-out emergent, life-threatening causes of each patient's presentation. Is the headache a subarachnoid hemorrhage? Is the shortness of breath from a pulmonary embolism? Emergency physicians need to be especially skilled in a broad range of clinical knowledge in addition to multitasking, communicating to patients and consultants concisely, and overall efficiency.
So why hasn't there been a specific reference book addressing the unique aspects of EM for the medical student? It seems a bit unfair to ask the medical student, who is new to the Emergency Department setting, to acclimate to the chaotic environment and not get lost in the shuffle.
Thus about a year ago, the Clerkship Directors in Emergency Medicine (CDEM) group put together an EM Clerkship Primer to address these very issues. We wrote a reference manual called "Emergency Medicine Clerkship Primer: A Manual for Medical Students", which is available for free. The project editor was Dr. Dave Wald (Temple), and I was fortunate to be one of the Associate Editors. There are lots of notable contributing authors.
The chapters include:
- Intro to the specialty of EM
- Intro to the EM clerkship
- EM clerkship goals and objectives
- Unique educational aspects of EM
- Differences between the ED, the office, and the inpatient setting
- Undifferentiated and differentiated patients
- Performing a complaint-directed history and physical exam
- Data gathering skills
- Developing a case-specific differential diagnosis
- Diagnostic testing in the ED
- Developing a plan of action
- Diagnosis: Is it possible? Is it necessary?
- Disposition of the ED patient
- Discharge instructions
- Enhancing your oral case presentation skills
- Interacting with consultants and primary care physicians
- Patient satisfaction - meeting patients' expectations
- Providing anticipatory guidance
- Procedural skills
- Suggested reading and other educational resources for med students
- How to get the most out of your EM clerkship