All COM-T Medical Students to Train in Emergency Medicine Critical Care

November 14, 2019

Starting February 2020, every medical student at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson will have experience in treating critically ill patients in an emergency setting.

Starting February 2020, every medical student at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson will have experience in treating critically ill patients in an emergency setting. The University of Arizona Department of Emergency Medicine Critical Care Clerkship is moving from an elective to a required course.

EMD-845 (Integrated Emergency Medicine & Critical Care) now will be one of only two rotations required to be taken by every fourth-year medical student attending UArizona COM-T.

Students spend the first two years of medical school gaining a foundation of medical knowledge and skills before advancing to clinical rotations called clerkships for the third and fourth year. Clerkships train students in a variety of sites and environments to learn and experience different facets of medicine. In addition, students participate in multiple elective and selective training opportunities.

“Students are required to learn basic patient care in each of these areas, and along the way, they may end up choosing one of them as their specialty,” said Hans Bradshaw, MD, UArizona Department of Emergency Medicine clerkship director. “All medical students now will have exposure to emergency medicine and critical care medicine. This will provide a well-rounded experience and hopefully spark their interest in emergency medicine.”

Moving from elective to required training coincides with the upward trend in the number of students who choose emergency medicine as their future career, says Dr. Bradshaw. Currently more than half of all U.S. medical schools require EM clerkships in their undergraduate medical curricula. 

In addition to the now required EM/critical care rotation, the department offers electives in toxicology, emergency ultrasound, CPR teaching and training, and research.

The department will offer a combined EM/Pediatrics elective in January. The course will be similar to the Advanced Resuscitation and Emergency Management (AREM) elective, in which students act as interns, working directly with the ED attending physician and senior residents, and charting just as they would in their residency.

The DEM clerkship will grow from 51 UA medical students to more than 135 students, a 165 percent increase. The department has been working to prepare for the expansion, including gathering feedback from physicians and students, simplifying scheduling and providing more online didactic lectures.

“This is a fantastic milestone for the UArizona College of Medicine – Tucson that will have a positive impact on future patients,” said Sam Keim, MD, head of the Department of Emergency Medicine. “All of our medical students, regardless of future specialty choices, will encounter patients with life-threatening symptoms. The fundamental competencies they will receive from this required rotation will promote life-saving decisions.”