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CJEM. 2010 May;12(3):212-9.

A new emergency medicine clerkship program: students' perceptions of what works.

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  • 1Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ont. myeung@ottawahospital.on.ca



Emergency medicine is an evolving discipline in Canadian medical schools. Little has been published regarding student preferences for emergency medicine training during the clerkship phase of MD programs. We assessed medical students' perceptions of a newly developed emergency medicine clerkship rotation involving multiple learning modalities. The evaluation process included assessment of the rotation's instructional elements and overall educational value.


The first cohort of medical students to complete this new emergency medicine clerkship was invited to answer a questionnaire just before graduation. Students rated their preferences for components of the rotation using paired comparisons. Open ended questions explored students' satisfaction with the emergency medicine clerkship as well as perceptions of the rotation's impact on career development.


Of the 94 students in the first clerkship cohort, 81 (86%) responded to the survey. Students found the emergency medicine clerkship highly valuable, citing the broad range of cases seen, close supervision, and opportunities to develop clinical assessment, decision making and procedural skills. Students' curricular preferences were for advanced cardiac life support (ACLS) (26.4%), clinical shifts (20.6%), supervised clinical shifts (17.8%), procedural skills laboratories (14.8%), tutorials (10.8%) and preceptor assisted learning sessions (9.8%).


This new emergency medicine clerkship program incorporated multiple learning methods within a 4-week rotation and was highly rated by students. Although clinical shifts and ACLS were generally preferred activities, students had varying individual preferences for specific learning activities. Multiple learning methods allowed all students to benefit from the rotation. This study makes a compelling case for including an emergency medicine rotation with multiple learning modalities as a core element of clerkship at every medical school.

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