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Acad Emerg Med. 2007 Jul;14(7):629-34. Epub 2007 May 8.

The state of the clerkship: a survey of emergency medicine clerkship directors.

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Department of Emergency Medicine, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA, USA.



An emergency medicine (EM) clerkship can provide a medical student with a unique educational experience. The authors sought to describe the current experiential curriculum of the EM clerkship, along with methods of evaluation, feedback, and grading.


A descriptive survey was utilized. Clerkship directors at EM residency programs accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education completed an online questionnaire. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics.


Ninety-two (70%) of 132 EM clerkship directors completed the survey. Sixty institutions (65%) accepted only fourth-year medical students, and 35% accepted both third- and fourth-year students. The median number of didactic lecture hours provided during each rotation block for students was ten (interquartile range [IQR], 6-16). The average length of a student's clinical shift was eight hours, while the median number of clinical shifts reported per rotation was 15 (IQR, 14-16). The median number of hours worked weekly by a medical student was 40 (IQR, 35-43). Fifty-four EM clerkship directors (59%) incorporated the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education six core competencies into their evaluation process. Seventy-one clerkship directors (77%) used a shift evaluation card to evaluate the clinical performance of medical students. Fifty-four (59%) incorporated an end-of-rotation written examination to determine the final rotation grade for a medical student.


Medical students are exposed to a variety of didactic lectures and procedure labs but have similar experiences regarding shift length and work hours. Methods of evaluation of clinical performance vary across clinical sites.

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