10 Things to Do Before Applying to an Emergency Medicine Residency

This document was created by Felix Ankel, M.D., St. Paul Ramsey Medical Center, 640 Jackson Street, St. Paul, MN, 55101-1290. Telephone: 612-221-1290, Fax: 612-221-8756, Email: fankel@emd.sprmc.healthpartners.com

The original article was located at www.saem.org. It is provided here only for convenience. The SAEM site is full of useful resources. Make sure you stop by!

1. Read the Macy report on Emergency Medicine

The Macy report: "The Role of Emergency Medicine in the Future of American Medical Care" was published in 1995. It gives good insight on emergency medicine as a specialty.

2. Know the major issues in Emergency Medicine

Look at the major emergency medicine journals: Academic Emergency Medicine, Annals of Emergency Medicine, American Journal of Emergency Medicine, and the Journal of Emergency Medicine. Take an afternoon in the library and look at the editorials in these journals in the last 12 months. You will get a sense of issues important to emergency physicians. See who is on the editorial boards of these journals and who is writing chapters in the major emergency medicine textbooks. You'll find that it is still a relatively small world when it comes to academic emergency medicine.

3. Choose your mentor well

If you have been "assigned" one that is not an emergency physician, ask to set up an appointment with an emergency physician that has gone through or is a part of an emergency medicine residency program. Emergency medicine is such a rapidly changing field that advice is best gotten from people intimately involved in emergency medicine.

4. Become a student member for the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine (SAEM)

Services offered include a subscription to the monthly journal Academic Emergency Medicine, a catalog of all emergency medicine residencies, a medical student rotation list useful for contemplating outside electives (also on the home page), the Newsletter which is published monthly (except May) and a greatly reduced registration fee to attend the SAEM Annual Meeting. A one-day medical student session is offered at the Annual Meeting. Medical Student dues are $75 (includes monthly journal, Academic Emergency Medicine and $50 for membership without the journal subscription.

5. Become a student member of the American College of Emergency Physicians/Emergency Medicine Residents' Association (ACEP/EMRA)

Services offered include a subscription to Annals of Emergency Medicine, an antibiotic handbook, drug dosage cards, newsletters and other material. Medical Student members of EMRA will receive "Emergency Medicine in Focus," a handbook to use when applying to an emergency medicine residency. Call 800-798-1822, touch 5, to receive an application. Medical Student dues are $30 for ACEP membership; $20 for EMRA membership. If you join ACEP only the dues are $60.

6. Join the emergency medicine interest group (EMIG) at your medical school

If you don't have one, start one. SAEM and ACEP/EMRA/MSA can be a resource on how to start one.

7. Plan your fourth year well

This should include working at a place where you will get sufficient direct contact with EM leaders that can write you good letters. Although good letters from outside EM may be helpful, you should have at least one letter from an emergency physician. Plan on doing a fourth year elective at a place that has an emergency medicine residency program. SAEM has a list of elective away fourth year emergency medicine rotations.

8. Buy Ken Iserson's book: Getting into a Residency: A Guide for Medical Students

From Galen Press 800-442-5369. This has all the basics about applications, curriculum vitae, and personal statements. ACEP/EMRA also sells "Emergency Medicine Focus: A Handbook for Medical Students and Prospective Residents" edited by Theodore Delbridge, MD, that is helpful for students specifically interested in emergency medicine.

9. Read: Koscove EM. An applicant's evaluation of an emergency medicine internship and residency. Ann Emerg Med 19:774,1990

Although this is a few years old, a lot of the issues mentioned in this article are still pertinent when interviewing at emergency medicine residencies today.

10. Become computer literate

Lots of information is available at your fingertips. All emergency medicine residency programs are listed on the SAEM Residency Catalog which has links to all residency program home pages and email links to the residency directors. Major emergency medicine organizations such as SAEM, ACEP, AAEM, and AEP all have websites. Joining the emed-l list will give you an idea of issues of interest to emergency physicians. Run from UCSF, this is a forum where many emergency physicians air their views. To subscribe, send email to: listserv@itssrvl.ucsf.edu, skip subject and then in body write: Subscribe Emed-l. You will get approximately 5-10 e-mails/day.

 

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