Why is emergency medicine training important in medical schools?

Why is emergency medicine training important in medical schools?

The ability to promptly and accurately diagnose and treat patients in critical condition is a crucial skill that students learn in emergency medicine programs. This exposure is especially important for doctors who practice in fast-paced environments like emergency rooms, urgent care clinics, and hospitals immediately after their graduation in some countries.

The ability to promptly recognize and stabilize critically sick patients is a key skill that is taught to prospective doctors as part of emergency medical training. This entails not only the ability to see the warning indications of illnesses like heart attacks, strokes, and septic shock, but also to initiate life-saving treatments like cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and the administration of antibiotics.

Medical students can learn to function well under pressure by participating in emergency medicine rotations. It’s very common for emergency departments to be noisy and hectic due to the high volume of people who are there for immediate attention. So, in order to offer the best treatment for their patients in situations where time and resources are limited, and many distractors in the environment, all doctors need to be able to think fast and make choices on the fly.

Learning to work with other medical professionals is also a crucial part of emergency medicine education. Patients in emergency departments are usually cared for by a multidisciplinary group consisting of doctors, nurses, and other medical experts. Medical students learn how to interact and coordinate with these other clinicians as part of their emergency medicine training.

In addition, emergency medicine education is crucial because it prepares future doctors to treat patients with a wide variety of acute and chronic disorders. Every doctor should be able to treat patients of different ages, ethnicities, and economic statuses, and they should do so in a way that is respectful of their cultural origins. Therefore, emergency departments create great opportunities with its unique learning environment for medical students.

Last but not least, emergency medicine education is critical since it helps students get a feel for the field. Physicians who have completed emergency medicine training are better equipped to deal with the high-stakes, high-stress scenarios they will experience in practice, as emergency medicine is one of the most rigorous and demanding specialties in medicine. All medical students, including those who want to specialize elsewhere, should acquire emergency medicine skills, familiarize themselves with how the emergency health care system operates, and be prepared to work in this field if necessary.

IFEM, or the International Federation for Emergency Medicine (ifem.cc), is an organization that supports the advancement of emergency medicine globally. One way that IFEM supports emergency medicine training in medical schools is by providing resources and guidelines for curriculum development. IFEM has created a set of guidelines for emergency medicine training, which can serve as a framework for medical schools to develop their own curricula. Additionally, IFEM offers training opportunities and conferences for medical educators to learn from each other and share best practices.

To improve emergency medicine training in their own countries, other nations can look to IFEM’s guidelines as a starting point for developing their own curricula. They can also seek out partnerships with IFEM and other organizations, to share knowledge and resources. Providing opportunities for medical students to gain hands-on experience in emergency medicine, such as through clinical rotations or simulation training, can definitely be effective in preparing them for the challenges they may face in the future clinical practice. Finally, investing in the development of emergency medicine residency programs can help to ensure that there is a pipeline of well-trained emergency physicians to serve the needs of the community.

In conclusion, emergency medicine training is a crucial part of a medical education because it prepares students for the realities of practice by teaching them how to quickly and accurately assess and treat critically ill patients, how to work effectively in high-stress environments, how to collaborate with other healthcare providers, how to care for patients from a wide variety of backgrounds and with a wide variety of medical conditions. Without this exposure, medical students would be less equipped to deal with complicated and challenging circumstances in clinical practice. Therefore, we highly recommend medical schools consider opening emergency medicine rotations or increasing the time of exposure to emergency medicine education.

Further Reading

  • Rybarczyk MM, Ludmer N, Broccoli MC, Kivlehan SM, Niescierenko M, Bisanzo M, Checkett KA, Rouhani SA, Tenner AG, Geduld H, Reynolds T. Emergency Medicine Training Programs in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: A Systematic Review. Ann Glob Health. 2020 Jun 16;86(1):60. doi: 10.5334/aogh.2681. PMID: 32587810; PMCID: PMC7304456.
  • International EM Core Curriculum and Education Committee for the International Federation for Emergency Medicine. International Federation for Emergency Medicine model curriculum for emergency medicine specialists. CJEM. 2011 Mar;13(2):109-21. PMID: 21435317.
  • Arnold JL, Holliman CJ. Lessons learned from international emergency medicine development. Emerg Med Clin North Am. 2005 Feb;23(1):133-47. doi: 10.1016/j.emc.2004.10.001. PMID: 15663978.
  • Beyene T, Tupesis JP, Azazh A. Attitude of interns towards implementation and contribution of undergraduate Emergency Medicine training: Experience of an Ethiopian Medical School. Afr J Emerg Med. 2017 Sep;7(3):108-112. doi: 10.1016/j.afjem.2017.04.008. Epub 2017 Apr 20. Erratum in: Afr J Emerg Med. 2017 Dec;7(4):189. PMID: 30456120; PMCID: PMC6234139.
  • Beckers SK, Timmermann A, Müller MP, Angstwurm M, Walcher F. Undergraduate medical education in emergency medical care: a nationwide survey at German medical schools. BMC Emerg Med. 2009 May 12;9:7. doi: 10.1186/1471-227X-9-7. PMID: 19435518; PMCID: PMC2689168.
  • Wald DA, Lin M, Manthey DE, Rogers RL, Zun LS, Christopher T. Emergency medicine in the medical school curriculum. Acad Emerg Med. 2010 Oct;17 Suppl 2:S26-30. doi: 10.1111/j.1553-2712.2010.00896.x. PMID: 21199080.

Related iEM Articles

Arif Alper Cevik, MD, FEMAT, FIFEM

Arif Alper Cevik, MD, FEMAT, FIFEM

Prof Cevik is an Emergency Medicine academician at United Arab Emirates University, interested in international emergency medicine, emergency medicine education, medical education, point of care ultrasound and trauma. He is the founder and director of the International Emergency Medicine Education Project – iem-student.org, vice-chair of the International Federation for Emergency Medicine (IFEM) core curriculum and education committee and board member of the Asian Society for Emergency Medicine and Emirati Board of Emergency Medicine.

Cite this article as: iEM Education Project Team, "Why is emergency medicine training important in medical schools?," in International Emergency Medicine Education Project, February 24, 2023, https://iem-student.org/2023/02/24/why-is-emergency-medicine-training-important-in-medical-schools/, date accessed: September 27, 2023

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.