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The effect of emergency department observational experience on medical student interest in emergency medicine.



In many different health care educational models, shadowing, or observational experience, is accepted as integral to introducing students to the specifics of medical specialties.

Study objectives

We investigated whether emergency department (ED) observational experiences (EDOs) affect medical students' (MSs') interest in emergency medicine (EM). Additionally, we examined how the subjective quality of clinical exposures influences this interest and the decision to recommend EDOs to other students.


This is a survey of MSs at a Level 1 tertiary care university hospital during a 2-year period. The study focused on assessing perception of ED exposure, post-EDO change in EM interest, and decision to recommend EDOs to others.


The majority of MSs had a change in EM interest post-EDO and recommended EDOs. Both variables correlated to ED exposure ratings.


The EDO significantly influenced MS interest in EM by providing exposure to various aspects of the ED.

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