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Thread: What advice would you give to a 4th year medical student who wants to do EM?- Ask the Expert

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    Emergency Medicine - Ask the Expert

    Question: What advice would you give to a 4th year medical student who wants to do EM?

    Answer: Emergency medicine (EM) is an outstanding field; is exciting, challenging, stimulating and interesting. The more experience I had with EM as a medical student, the more certain became that it was an excellent fit for me.

    Advice #1: Gain as much exposure to EM as you can during medical school. Do your EM rotations early in your fourth year, to your attendings and residents, shadow, go to local and national EM meetings, read the review books and listen to lectures online. Not only will this help you in making your decision, it will help prepare for your interviews.

    The additional exposure you gain in other specialties will also you be prepared for the upcoming year.
    Advice #2: Don't skimp on your ICU rotation, electives sub-internships. By the time you're a fourth year, you may a little exhausted from the 20+ years of schooling you have completed. While it's important you take a break and refresh for the upcoming year, don't skimp on your rotations. This tremendous opportunity to learn dermatology, ophthalmology, neurology and critical care from the experts in each field. experience will be invaluable to you as a resident in the emergency department.
    Advice #3: Get a whole new experience on your away rotations. If your medical school was affiliated with a private community hospital, do an externship at a large county ED and vice versa. Each residency program has its own pace and patient demographic. When applying to programs, it is good to have an idea about which type of environment you thrive in. It's also good for interviewers to know that you can survive in the “county' or the “community' setting.
    Advice #4: Offer to write a case report. If you come across interesting case, offer to write it up. Chances are, you haven't stumbled upon a large, prospective, randomized, double-blind control trial on which to be lead-investigator. Case reports are great way to become involved in the peer-review process and develop your skills as an author and researcher. It will give you opportunity to be mentored by an EM faculty member who can you with your manuscript, offer advice and potentially write a letter of recommendation for your residency application.
    Advice #5: Go to the pre-interview social event. When you go on your interviews, most programs will have a happy hour the night before or after your interview. Make room for these events in your schedule when you are planning your flights and accommodations. Socializing with the residents is often the best way to know if you will fit with a program. They will be your colleagues for the next three to four years --having fun with them will make your long hours in residency tolerable.
    Advice #6: Find an exotic rotation. There are plenty of reasons to travel across the country or hemisphere: wilderness medicine, toxicology, ultrasound or your sub-internship. Find an excuse to go to Hawaii, New York, Utah, California or even Australia. If arranged far enough in advance, most medical schools will count your away credit towards your graduation requirements.
    Advice #7: Start IVs, in kids. Rarely will you have the opportunity to have two to three patients at a time. Use the extra time you have to start IVs, place NG tubes, learn your way around the ultrasound machine, look in kids' ears, check out the rash in bed 25, read EKGs or learn how to use a slit lamp. The more experience you gain, the more comfortable you will feel when you start your residency next year.
    And finally, advice #8: Go with your gut. If you don't think a program is a good fit for you, you're probably right. Almost every EM program in the nation will train you to become an excellent emergency physician. Choose the program where your needs will be supported so that you will be able to thrive.
    Be assured that you are choosing a great field. Enjoy your interviews, rotations and experiences as a fourth year medical student. Good luck! I look forward to seeing you on the interview trail


    Wish You A prosperous Future

    Last edited by trimurtulu; 01-23-2009 at 11:57 PM.

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