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Volume 22, Issue 1, 2021
2021 CDEM/CORD Special Issue
WestJEM Full-Text Issue
Education Special Issue - Systematic Review (Limit 3000 words)
Calming Troubled Waters: A Narrative Review of Challenges and Potential Solutions in the Residency Interview Offer Process
The rising numbers of residency applications along with fears of a constrained graduate medical education environment have created pressures on residency applicants. Anecdotal evidence suggests substantial challenges with the process of offering residency interviews. This narrative review is designed to identify and propose solutions for the current problems in the process of offering residency interviews. We used PubMed and web browser searches to identify relevant studies and reports. Materials were assessed for relevance to the current process of distributing residency interviews. There is limited relevant literature and the quality is poor overall. We were able to identify several key problem areas including uncertain timing of interview offers; disruption caused by the timing of interview offers; imbalance of interview offers and available positions; and a lack of clarity around waitlist and rejection status. In addition, the couples match and need for coordination of interviews creates a special case. Many of the problems related to residency interview offers are amenable to program-level interventions, which may serve as best practices for residency programs, focusing on clear communication of processes as well as attention to factors such as offer-timing and numbers. We provide potential strategies for programs as well as a call for additional research to better understand the problem and solutions.
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Wellness Interventions in Emergency Medicine Residency Programs: Review of the Literature Since 2017
Introduction: Recent research demonstrates burnout prevalence rates as high as 76% in emergency medicine (EM) residents. In 2017 the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) required that all training programs provide dedicated wellness education for their trainees as a requirement for accreditation. We aimed to conduct a systematic review of published wellness interventions conducted in EM residency programs following the implementation of the 2017 ACGME Common Program Requirements change in order to characterized published intervention and evaluate their effectiveness.
Methods: We applied a published approach to conducting systematic reviews of the medical education literature. We performed a search of the literature from January 1, 2017–February 1, 2020. Studies were included for final review if they described a specific intervention and reported outcomes with the primary goal of improving EM resident wellness. Outcomes were characterized using the Kirkpatrick training evaluation model.
Results: Eight of 35 identified studies met inclusion criteria. Most described small convenience samples of EM residents from single training programs and used the satisfaction rates of participants as primary outcome data. Only quantitative assessment methods were used. Studies addressed only a limited number of factors affecting resident wellness. The majority of interventions focused on personal factors, although a few also included sociocultural factors and the learning and practice environment.
Conclusion: There is a relative dearth of literature in the area of research focused on interventions designed to improve EM resident wellness. Furthermore, the studies we identified are narrow in scope, involve relatively few participants, and describe programmatic changes of limited variety. Future directions include an increase and emphasis on multi-institutional studies, randomized controlled trials, qualitative methodology, and opportunities for funded research.
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Education Special Issue - Original Research (Limit 3000 words)
Impact of Resident-Paired Schedule on Medical Student Education and Impression of Residency Programs
Introduction: Clinical rotations in emergency medicine (EM) can be challenging for medical students because of the lack of continuity with attending physicians. To overcome this challenge, institutions have started to match a student’s schedule with that of a resident, referred to as “paired shifts.” We sought to pilot and compare two schedule formats for fourth-year medical students (MS4) – a resident-paired shifts (RPS) and a traditional resident-unpaired shifts (RUS) schedule.
Methods: This prospective, crossover trial included MS4s rotating in the emergency department over four consecutive four-week blocks. Each MS4 was assigned two weeks using the RUS schedule and two weeks with the RPS schedule, alternating the format order each month. At the end of the rotation students were anonymously surveyed regarding the differences in learning experience, their ability to showcase their knowledge and clinical skills, and familiarity with the residency program with the two formats.
Results: The response rate was 47 of 58 students (84%). Respondents indicated that RPS resulted in more teaching time (64.6% RPS vs 8.3% RUS), a better overall educational experience (68.8% RPS vs 8.3% RUS), and a greater ability to showcase their medical knowledge (52.1% RPS vs 6.3% RUS). Additionally, students felt that the program was better able to evaluate them (66.7% RPS vs 10.4% RUS) and they were better able to better evaluate the program (66.7% RPS vs 6.3% RUS) in the RPS format.
Conclusions: When compared to traditional RUS during an MS4 rotation, a RPS format provided students with the perception of an improved learning experience, ability to showcase knowledge, and familiarity with the residency program without sacrificing teaching from attending physicians.
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Introduction: Medical students pursuing an emergency medicine (EM) residency are advised to obtain at least two Standardized Letters of Evaluation (SLOE). Students often complete one rotation at their home institution and at least one “away” rotation at a program separate from their home institution. The SLOE was introduced as an objective evaluation tool. The aim of this study was to determine whether there was a difference in scores between home rotation and away rotation SLOEs.
Methods: We retrospectively reviewed the SLOEs of all applicants to an urban, academic EM residency program. For each SLOE, we calculated a composite score from rankings in seven “Qualifications for EM” (CS7), and converted comparative rank score (CRS) and estimated rank list position (ERP) to percentile scores. The CS7, CRS, and ERP on the home rotation SLOE were compared to those of the away SLOE using a paired t-test.
Results: An evaluation of 721 applicants with at least one home SLOE and one away SLOE demonstrated a significant increase in the ERP of home rotators (P = 0.003). The data did not demonstrate a statistically significant difference in the CS7 (P = 0.69), or CRS (P = 0.97).
Conclusion: Our study demonstrated that the only difference in SLOEs is that students are likely to be given a slightly higher estimated placement on the rank order list on a home SLOE. We hope this will help residency leadership with reviewing applications.
Introduction: Educational podcasts are used by emergency medicine (EM) trainees to supplementclinical learning and to foster a sense of connection to broader physician communities. Yet residents reportdifficulties remembering what they learned from listening, and the features of podcasts that residents findmost effective for learning remain poorly understood. Therefore, we sought to explore residents’ perceptionsof the design features of educational podcasts that they felt most effectively promoted learning.
Methods: We used a qualitative approach to explore EM trainees’ experiences with educational podcasts,focusing on design features that they found beneficial to their learning. We conducted 16 semi-structuredinterviews with residents from three institutions from March 2016–August 2017. Interview transcripts wereanalyzed line-by-line using constant comparison and organized into focused codes, conceptual categories,and then key themes.
Results: The five canons of classical rhetoric provided a framework for thematically grouping the disparatefeatures of podcasts that residents reported enhanced their learning. Specifically, they reported valuing thefollowing: 1) Invention: clinically relevant material presented from multiple perspectives with explicit learningpoints; 2) Arrangement: efficient communication; 3) Style: narrative incorporating humor and storytelling; 4)Memory: repetition of key content; and 5) Delivery: short episodes with good production quality.
Conclusion: This exploratory study describes features that residents perceived as effective for learning fromeducational podcasts and provides foundational guidance for ongoing research into the most effective waysto structure medical education podcasts.
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Introduction: Lack of accreditation requirements affords global emergency medicine (GEM) fellowships the flexibility to customize curricula and content. A paucity of literature exists describing the state of GEM fellowship programs. We describe the current state of GEM fellowship curricula including which components are commonly included, and highlighting areas of higher variability.
Methods: We identified GEM fellowships and invited them to participate in a web-based survey. Descriptive statistical analysis was performed.
Results: Of the 46 fellowship programs invited to participate, 24 responded; one duplicate response and one subspecialty program were excluded. The 22 remaining programs were included in the analysis. Nineteen programs (86%) offer a Masters in Public Health (MPH) and 36% require an MPH to graduate. Additionally, 13 programs (59%) offered graduate degrees other than MPH. Fellows average 61 clinical hours per month (95% confidence interval, 53-68). Time spent overseas varies widely, with the minimum required time ranging from 2-28 weeks (median 8 weeks; interquartile range [IQR] 6,16) over the course of the fellowship. The majority of programs offer courses in tropical medicine (range 2-24 weeks, median 4 weeks) and the Health Emergencies in Large Populations course. Only 32% of programs reported offering formal ultrasound training. Fellows averaged 1.3 research projects prior to fellowship and median of 2.5 during fellowship (IQR 1,3). While the majority of GEM fellowship graduates worked at US academic centers (59%), 24% worked in US community hospitals, 9% worked for non-profit organizations, and 9% worked internationally in clinical practice.
Conclusion: Our results highlight the wide variability of curricular content and experiences offered by GEM fellowships.
Does a Standardized Discharge Communication Tool Improve Resident Performance and Overall Patient Satisfaction?
Introduction: The discharge conversation is a critical component of the emergency department encounter. Studies suggest that emergency medicine (EM) residency education is deficient in formally training residents on the patient discharge conversation. Our goal was to assess the proficiency of EM residents in addressing essential elements of a comprehensive discharge conversation; identify which components of the discharge conversation are omitted; introduce “DC HOME,” a standardized discharge mnemonic; and determine whether its implementation improved resident performance and patient satisfaction.
Methods: This was a prospective observational pre- and post-intervention study done by convenience sampling of 400 resident discharge encounters. Resident physicians were observed by attending physicians who completed an evaluation, answering “yes” or “no” as to whether residents addressed six components of a comprehensive discharge. The six components include the following: diagnosis; care rendered; health and lifestyle modifications; obstacles after discharge; medications; and expectations – or “DC HOME.” Didactics introducing the mnemonic “DC HOME” was provided to resident physicians. Patient feedback and satisfaction were collected after each encounter, and we recorded differences between pre-intervention and post-intervention encounters.
Results: Resident physicians improved significantly in all six components of “DC HOME” from pre-and-post intervention: discharge diagnosis (P = 0.0036) and the remaining five components (P<0.0001). There was a statistically significant improvement in patients’ perception for health and lifestyle modifications, obstacles after discharge, medications, expectations after discharge (P<0.0001), and discharge diagnosis (P = 0.0029). Patient satisfaction scores improved significantly (P = 0.005). Time spent with patients during discharge increased from 2 minutes and 42 seconds to 4 minutes and 4 seconds (P<0.0001).
Conclusion: EM residents frequently omit key components of the discharge conversation. The implementation of the “DC HOME” discharge mnemonic improves resident discharge performance, patient perception, and overall patient satisfaction.
Integration of Lung Point-of-care Ultrasound into Clinical Decision Making for Medical Students in Simulated Cases
Background: Point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) has an emerging presence in medical student education; however, there is limited evidence that this translates into appropriate clinical care. We aimed to evaluate the ability of medical students to integrate newly obtained POCUS knowledge into simulated clinical cases.
Methods: We conducted an observational study of medical students participating in a mandatory rotation during their clinical years. Students in small groups underwent formalized lung POCUS lectures and hands-on training. Students participated in simulated “dyspnea” cases focused on either congestive heart failure (CHF) or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). They were observed for critical actions including elements related to medical decision-making and ultrasound use and interpretation. Ultrasound-specific written knowledge was gauged with a short assessment after the first lecture and at week 4.
Results: A total of 62 students participated and were observed during simulations. All groups correctly identified and treated CHF in the simulated case. Most groups (7 out of 9) attempted to use ultrasound in the CHF case; five groups correctly recognized B-lines; and four groups correctly interpreted B-lines as pulmonary edema. No groups used ultrasound in the COPD case.
Conclusion: Most students attempted to use ultrasound during simulated CHF cases after a brief didactic intervention; however, many students struggled with clinical application. Interestingly, no students recognized the need to apply ultrasound for diagnosis and management of COPD. Future studies are needed to better understand how to optimize teaching for medical students to improve translation into POCUS skills and improved clinical practice.
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Introduction: The average number of applications per allopathic applicant to emergency medicine (EM) residency programs in the United States (US) has increased significantly since 2014. This increase in applications has caused a significant burden on both programs and applicants. Our goal in this study was to investigate the drivers of this application increase so as to inform strategies to mitigate the surge.
Methods: A total of 532 of 1748 (30.4%) US allopathic seniors responded to the survey. Of these respondents, 47.3% felt they had applied to too many programs, 11.8% felt they had applied to too few, and 57.7% felt that their perception of their own competitiveness increased their number of applications. Application behavior of peers going into EM was identified as the largest external factor driving an increase in applications (61.1%), followed by US Medical Licensing Exam scores (46.9%) – the latter was most pronounced in applicants who self-perceived as “less competitive.” The most significant limiter of application numbers was the cost of using the Electronic Residency Application Service (34.3%).
Conclusion: A substantial group of EM applicants identified that they were over-applying to residencies. The largest driver of this process was individual applicant response to the behavior of their peers who were also going into EM. Understanding these motivations may help inform solutions to overapplication.
Introduction: Acute stress may impair cognitive performance and multitasking, both vital in the practice of emergency medicine (EM). Previous research has demonstrated that board-certified emergency physicians experience physiologic stress while working clinically. We sought to determine whether EM residents have a similar stress response, and hypothesized that residents experience acute stress while working clinically.
Methods: We performed a prospective observational study of physiologic stress including heart rate (HR), heart rate variability (HRV), and subjective stress in EM residents during clinical shifts in the emergency department. HR and HRV were measured via 3-lead Holter monitors and compared to baseline data obtained during weekly educational didactics. Subjective stress was assessed before and after clinical shifts via a Likert-scale questionnaire and written comments.
Results: We enrolled 21 residents and acquired data from 40 shifts. Residents experienced an increase in mean HR of eight beats per minute (P < 0.001) and decrease in HRV of 53.9 milliseconds (P = 0.005) while working clinically. Subjective stress increased during clinical work(P <0.001). HRV was negatively correlated with subjective stress, but this did not reach statistical significance (P = 0.09).
Conclusion: EM residents experience acute subjective and physiologic stress while working clinically. HR, HRV, and self-reported stress are feasible indicators to assess the acute stress response during residency training. These findings should be studied in a larger, more diverse cohort of residents and efforts made to identify characteristics that contribute to acute stress and to elicit targeted educational interventions to mitigate the acute stress response.
Introduction: Despite the burdens that resident attrition places upon programs and fellow trainees, emergency medicine (EM) as a specialty has only begun to explore the issue. Our primary objectives were to quantify attrition in EM residency programs and elucidate the reasons behind it. Our secondary objectives were to describe demographic characteristics of residents undergoing attrition, personal factors associated with attrition, and methods of resident replacement.
Methods: We conducted a national survey study of all EM program directors (PDs) during the 2018-2019 academic year. PDs were asked to identify all residents who had left their program prior to completion of training within the last four academic years (2015-2016 to 2018-2019), provide relevant demographic information, select perceived reasons for attrition, and report any resident replacements. Frequencies, percentages, proportions, and 95% confidence intervals were obtained for program- and resident-specific demographics. We performed Fisher’s exact tests to compare reasons for attrition between age groups.
Results: Of 217 PDs successfully contacted, 118 completed the questionnaire (response rate of 54%). A third of programs (39 of 118) reported at least one resident attrition. A total of 52 residents underwent attrition. Attrition was most likely to occur prior to completion of two years of training. Gender and underrepresented minority status were not associated with attrition. Older residents were more likely to leave due to academic challenges. The most common reported reason for attrition was to switch specialties. Resident replacement was found in 42% of cases.
Conclusion: One-third of programs were affected by resident attrition. Gender and underrepresented minority status were not associated with attrition.
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Medical and Physician Assistant Student Competence in Basic Life Support: Opportunities to Improve Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation Training
Introduction: Medical and physician assistant (PA) students are often required to have Basic Life Support (BLS) education prior to engaging in patient care. Given the potential role of students in resuscitations, it is imperative to ensure that current BLS training prepares students to provide effective cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). The objective of this study was to assess whether current BLS training produces student providers who can deliver BLS in an American Heart Association (AHA) guideline-adherent manner.
Methods: Students at a US medical school were recruited by convenience sampling. BLS performance immediately following a standard AHA BLS training course was evaluated during a two-minute CPR cycle using manikins. We also collected information on demographics, previous BLS training attendance, perceived comfort in providing CPR, and prior experiences in healthcare and providing or observing CPR.
Results: Among 80 participants, we found that compression rate, depth, and inter-compression recoil were AHA guideline-adherent for 90.0%, 68.8%, and 79.3% of total compression time, respectively. Mean hands-off time was also within AHA guidelines. Mean number of unsuccessful ventilations per cycle was 2.2. Additionally, 44.3% of ventilations delivered were of adequate tidal volume, 12.2% were excessive, and 41.0% were inadequate. Past BLS course attendance, prior healthcare certification, and previous provision of real-life CPR were associated with improved performance.
Conclusion: Following BLS training, medical and PA students met a majority of AHA compressions guidelines, but not ventilations guidelines, for over 70% of CPR cycles. Maintaining compression depth and providing appropriate ventilation volumes represent areas of improvement. Conducting regular practice and involving students in real-life CPR may improve performance.
Education Special Issue - Brief Research Report (Limit 1500 words)
Introduction: The focus of residency training is to ensure that graduates attain a minimum level of skills and knowledge in order to be able to practice independently. While there are multiple formal methods to evaluate a resident, there is a paucity of literature that describes whether programs have residents perform individual self-assessment (ISA) with the development of individualized learning plans (ILP) to better themselves. We sought to investigate the current state of emergency medicine (EM) residency programs using ISA and determine whether these assessments are used to develop an ILP for each resident.
Methods: An electronic survey was developed by educators at our institution and sent to all program leaders of United States EM residencies approved by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education. An individualized email request was sent to non-responders. Results were obtained from February–May 2019.
Results: Of 240 programs we contacted, 119 (49.5%) completed the survey. Seventy-nine percent of programs reported that they had all residents perform an ISA. These were completed semiannually in 69% of the programs surveyed, annually in 19%, less than annually in 8%, and quarterly or more frequently in 4%. Of those programs requiring a resident ISA, only 21% required that all residents develop an ILP; 79% had only those residents requiring additional help or no residents develop an ILP.
Conclusion: Most programs that completed the survey reported having residents complete an individual self-assessment, but there was variation in the areas assessed. The majority of programs had only lower performing, or no residents, develop an ILP based on this.
Introduction: The coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic forced a rapid transition of in-class residency conferences to online residency conferences; little is known about learners’ perceptions of this new didactic environment. Understanding learners’ perceptions of virtual classrooms can help inform current and future best practices for online, synchronous, graduate medical education.
Methods: We surveyed emergency medicine and internal medicine residency programs at a large urban academic medical center about their perceptions of synchronous online residency conferences.
Results: Residents reported a preference for in-class interactions with peers (85%) and lecturers (80%), with 62% reporting decreased levels of engagement with lecturers during online conferences. Residents reported performing nearly twice as many non-conference-related activities (eg, email, exercise) during online conferences vs in-class conferences. Residents felt that the following methods improved engagement during online conferences: lecturers answering chat questions; small group sessions; and gamification of lectures.
Conclusion: Synchronous online residency conferences were associated with decreased engagement and attention by learners. Simple methods to increase interactivity may help improve the online classroom experience and cultivate novel teaching environments that better support current learning styles.
Education Special Issue - Brief Educational Advances (Limit 1000 words)
Introduction: Medical students transition to intern year with significant variability in prior clinical experience depending on their medical school education. This leads to notable differences in the interns’ ability to perform focused histories and physical exams, develop reasoned differentials, and maximize care plans. Providing a foundational experience for these essential skills will help to establish standardized expectations despite variable medical school experiences.
Methods: During an orientation block, interns participated in a standardized patient experience. Interns were presented with three common chief complaints: abdominal pain; chest pain; and headache. Faculty observed the three patient encounters and provided immediate verbal and written feedback to the interns based on a standardized grading rubric.
Results: All residents that participated “agreed” or “strongly agreed” that the experience was a meaningful educational experience. 90% of the interns reported the experience would change their clinical practice. Additionally, 75% of residents survyed one year after the experience felt the experience changed their clinical practice. Faculty felt the learning experience allowed them to address knowledge gaps early and provide early guidance where needed.
Conclusion: This article describes an emergency medicine residency program’s effort to provide a foundational experience for interns in evaluating emergency department patients. The intent was to “level the playing field” and establish “good habits” early in intern year with the realization that prior experiences vary significantly in July of intern year.
Racism impacts patient care and clinical training in emergency medicine (EM), but dedicated racism training is not required in graduate medical education. We designed an innovative health equity retreat to teach EM residents about forms of racism and skills for responding to racial inequities in clinical environments. The three-hour retreat occurred during the residency didactic conference to maximize resident participation. We prioritized facilitated reflection on residents’ own experiences of race and racism in medicine in order to emphasize these concepts’ relevance to all participants. We used workshop, small group, and panel formats to optimize interactivity and discussion. Post-retreat survey respondents indicated that the curriculum successfully promoted awareness of racism in the workplace. Participants also expressed interest in continued discussions about racism in medicine as well as desire for greater faculty and nursing participation in the curriculum. Residency programs should consider incorporating similar educational sessions in core didactic curricula.
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Physician assistants (PA) are an important part of emergency department healthcare delivery and are increasingly seeking specialty-specific postgraduate training. Our goal was to pilot the implementation of a PA postgraduate program within an existing physician residency program and produce emergency medicine-PA (EM-PA) graduates of comparable skill to their physician counterparts who have received the equivalent length of EM residency training to date (evaluated at the end of first year of EM training).
The curriculum was based on the Society for Emergency Medicine Physician Assistants (SEMPA) recommendations with a special focus on side-by-side training with EM resident physicians. In reviewing the program, the authors examined faculty evaluations, as well as procedure and ultrasound experience that the trainees received. We found comparable evaluations between first-year EM-PA and physician trainee cohorts. This program serves as a pilot study to demonstrate the feasibility of collocating clinical and didactic programming for physicians and EM-PAs during their postgraduate training. This brief innovation report outlines the logistics of the clinical and didactic curriculum and provides a summary of outcomes evaluated.
To successfully provide effective patient care within a healthcare system and broader society facing health inequities and social injustice, emergency medicine (EM) residents must demonstrate a nuanced understanding of social determinants of health (SDOH). Classroom or bedside instruction may be insufficient to generate meaningful engagement with patients’ social contexts; experiential collaborative learning with community engagement has been suggested as an ideal modality for education about SDOH. We describe a low-cost, easily replicable activity involving observation and discussion of community murals within built environments. The tour was planned by EM faculty with expertise in graduate medical education, social EM, and the use of art in medical education. Prior to the activity, faculty selected murals situated in a variety of neighborhoods that would spark discussion on SDOH. Over the two-hour tour, residents stopped at city murals on a pre-planned route and engaged in observation and discussion. Faculty facilitators used established arts pedagogy, including visual thinking strategies and the concept of the “third thing,” to facilitate a collaborative exploration of murals, surrounding communities, and larger implications for patients. The activity was successful in providing residents with a nuanced, context-specific approach to SDOH, sparking greater curiosity about the communities they serve, and engaging residents in reflection and conversation about personal preconceptions and how to better engage with surrounding communities. Since murals and street art are present and accessible in many different settings, residency programs could consider implementing a similar activity as part of their didactic curriculum.
The majority of pediatric visits occur in general emergency departments. Caring for critically ill neonates is a low-frequency but high-stakes event for emergency physicians, which requires specialized knowledge and hands-on training. We describe a novel clinical rotation for emergency medicine (EM) residents that specifically augments skills in neonatal resuscitation through direct participation as a member of the neonatal resuscitation team. The neonatal resuscitation rotation evaluation median score of 4 (interquartile range [IQR] 3,4) was higher compared to all other off-service senior resident rotations combined (median 3, IQR 3,4) for the academic year 2018-2019. Ninety-two percent of residents evaluated the curriculum change as beneficial (median 4, IQR 4,4). The neonatal resuscitation rotation was rated more favorably than the pediatric intensive care rotation (median 4 IQR 3,4 vs median 3, IQR 2, 3) at a tertiary care children’s hospital during the third year. Residency programs may want to consider implementing a directed neonatal resuscitation experience as part of a comprehensive pediatric curriculum for EM residents.
Emergency medicine residents are required to accurately log all procedures, yet it is estimated that many procedures are not logged. Traditional procedure logging platforms are often cumbersome and may contribute to procedures not being logged or being logged inaccurately. We designed a mobile procedure logging application (app) that uses quick response (QR) codes to input patient information quickly and accurately. The app integrates with our current procedure log database while maintaining information privacy standards. It scans the QR code displayed for patient identification, automatically extracting pertinent patient information. The user selects the procedure performed and the app uses data analytics to recommend logging other related procedures.
A mobile procedure logging app using QR codes decreases time needed to log procedures and eliminates data entry errors. Improving the speed and convenience of procedure logging may decrease the discrepancy between performed and logged procedures. A similar app can be integrated into any residency program and may improve assessment of resident procedural competency.
The Challenging Case Conference: A Gamified Approach to Clinical Reasoning in the Video Conference Era
The development of clinical reasoning abilities is a core competency of emergency medicine (EM) resident education and has historically been accomplished through case conferences and clinical learning. The advent of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has fundamentally changed these traditional learning opportunities by causing a nationwide reliance on virtual education environments and reducing the clinical diversity of cases encountered by EM trainees.
We propose an innovative case conference that combines low-fidelity simulation with elements of gamification to foster the development of clinical reasoning skills and increase engagement among trainees during a virtual conference. After a team of residents submits a real clinical case that challenged their clinical reasoning abilities, a different team of residents “plays” through a gamified, simulated version of the case live on a video conference call. The case concludes with a facilitated debriefing led by a simulation-trained faculty, where both the resident teams and live virtual audience discuss the challenges of the case. Participants described how the Challenging Case Conference improved their perceptions of their clinical reasoning skills. Audience members reported increased engagement compared to traditional conferences. Participants also reported an unexpected, destigmatizing effect on the discussion of medical errors produced by this exercise. Residency programs could consider implementing a similar case conference as a component of their conference curriculum.
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Education Special Issue - Educational Advances (Limit 2000 words)
Introduction: The COVID-19 pandemic led to a large disruption in the clinical education of medical students, particularly in-person clinical activities. To address the resulting challenges faced by students interested in emergency medicine (EM), we proposed and held a peer-led, online learning course for rising fourth-year medical students.
Methods: A total of 61 medical students participated in an eight-lecture EM course. Students were evaluated through pre- and post-course assessments designed to ascertain perceived comfort with learning objectives and overall course feedback. Pre- and post-lecture assignments were also used to increase student learning.
Results: Mean confidence improved in every learning objective after the course. Favored participation methods were three-person call-outs, polling, and using the “chat” function. Resident participation was valued for “real-life” examples and clinical pearls.
Conclusion: This interactive model for online EM education can be an effective format for dissemination when in-person education may not be available.
Introduction: Professional development is an important component of graduate medical education, but it is unclear how to best deliver this instruction. Book clubs have been used outside of medicine as a professional development tool. We sought to create and evaluate a virtual professional development book club for emergency medicine interns.
Methods: We designed and implemented a virtual professional development book club during intern orientation. Afterward, participants completed an evaluative survey consisting of Likert and free-response items. Descriptive statistics were reported. We analyzed free-response data using a thematic approach.
Results: Of 15 interns who participated in the book club, 12 (80%) completed the evaluative survey. Most (10/12; 83.3%) agreed or strongly agreed that the book club showed them the importance of professional development as a component of residency training and helped them reflect on their own professional (11/12; 91.7%) and personal development (11/12; 91.7%). Participants felt the book club contributed to bonding with their peers (9/12; 75%) and engagement with the residency program (9/12; 75%). Our qualitative analysis revealed five major themes regarding how the book club contributed to professional and personal development: alignment with developmental stage; deliberate practice; self-reflection; strategies to address challenges; and communication skills.
Conclusion: A virtual book club was feasible to implement. Participants identified multiple ways the book club positively contributed to their professional development. These results may inform the development of other book clubs in graduate medical education.
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Establishment of an Undergraduate FOAM Initiative: International Emergency Medicine (iEM) Education Project for Medical Students
Introduction: Our goal was to describe the structure, process, platforms, and piloting period activities of the International Emergency Medicine (iEM) Education Project, which is a Free Open Access Medical Education (FOAM) initiative designed for medical students.
Methods: This was a descriptive study. We analyzed the activity data of iEM Education Project platforms (website and image, video, audio archives) in the piloting period (June 1, 2018–August 31, 2018). Studied variables included the total and monthly views, views by country and continents, the official languages of the countries where platforms were played, and their income levels.
Results: Platforms were viewed or played 38,517 times by users from 123 countries. The total views and plays were 8,185, 11,896, and 18,436 in June, July, and August, respectively. We observed a monthly increasing trend in all platforms. Image archive and website were viewed the most. All platforms were dominantly viewed from Asia and North America, high- and upper-middle-income countries, and non-English speaking countries. However, there were no statistically significant differences between continents, income levels, or language in platforms, except for the website, the project’s main hub, which showed a strong trend for difference between income levels (Kruskal-Wallis, P = 0.05). Website views were higher in high-income countries compared with low- and lower-middle income countries (Mann Whitney U test, P = 0.038 and P = 0.021, respectively).
Conclusion: The iEM Education Project was successfully established. Our encouraging initial results support the international expansion and increased collaboration of this project. Despite targeting developing countries with limited resources in this project, their engagement was suboptimal. Solutions to reach medical students in these countries should be investigated.
Letters to the Editor (Limit 700 words)
Commentary (Limit 2000 words)
With COVID-19 causing a rift in schedules and long-standing educational activities while restricting in person sessions that typically foster a sense of community, residencies were left to devise new ways to come together and continue on with education. The deeply engrained tradition of a morning case-based report led by senior residents was adapted to a virtual report in the evenings. While the format for presenting cases was similar, participation increased while helping build a further reaching community. This not only allowed for a 40-year-old tradition to continue to carry on through a pandemic, it gave a space for residents, alumni, and attendings to come together and rebuild a sense of normalcy and community to help bear through life altering events.