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Ann Emerg Med. 2005 Sep;46(3):217-23.

Critical care medicine training and certification for emergency physicians.

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Department of Critical Care Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15261, USA.


Demand for critical care services is increasing. Unless the supply of intensivists increases, critically ill patients will not have access to intensivists. Recent critical care society recommendations include increased graduate medical education support and expansion of the J-1 visa waiver program for foreign medical graduates. This article proposes additional recommendations, based on strengthening the relationship between emergency medicine and critical care medicine. Critical care is a continuum that includes out-of-hospital, emergency department (ED), and ICU care teams. Both emergency medicine and critical care medicine require expertise in treating life-threatening acute illness, with many critically ill patients often presenting first to the ED. Increased patient volumes and acuity have resulted in longer ED lengths of stay and more critical care delivery in the ED. However, the majority of critical care medicine fellowships do not accept emergency medicine residents, and those who do successfully complete a fellowship do not have access to a US certification examination in critical care medicine. Despite these barriers, interest in critical care medicine training among emergency physicians is increasing. Dual emergency medicine- and critical care medicine-trained physicians will not only help alleviate the intensivist shortage but also strengthen critical care delivery in the ED and facilitate coordination at the ED-ICU interface. We therefore propose that all accreditation bodies work cooperatively to create a route to critical care medicine certification for emergency physicians who complete a critical care fellowship.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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