rotation wrap up EM

Rotation Wrap Up: Emergency Medicine

I wrapped up my Emergency Medicine rotation two weeks ago and finally got the opportunity to sit down and write a little bit of a “guide to” post for ER like I did for my Internal Medicine and OB/GYN rotations. While I know many of my readers are NOT students in the medical field, I am also aware that many of you ARE and that you have found these types of posts helpful! So without further ado … here is my Emergency Medicine wrap up post!

rotation wrap up EM

What I Thought of Emergency Medicine

I found my calling you guys. Like seriously. Every since volunteering at the Rock’N’Roll last year and just knowing how my mind works I always thought I would want to end up in an ER as a provider. However, I was a little nervous too that I would get to the ER and end up hating it. Fortunately that wasn’t the case and I fell even deeper in love. I love the acuity, the pace, the patients, the procedures, and the mind set. I found myself dreading leaving my rotation because I loved it SO much! Sure the hours were crazy long when I was at work but they were all worth it!


Favorite Products that were Helpful

Tintinalli’s Emergency Medicine –OR– Rosen’s Emergency Medicine
Either of these resources will serve you well. We used Tintinalli’s during didactic but my preceptors were partial to Rosen’s. Either way they are a solid, evidenced-based guide for practicing Emergency Medicine.


Tarascon Pocket Pharmacopeia
My ER was notorious for having terrible cell phone service so I had a pocked pharm reference on me at all times. I found it incredibly useful for medications I wasn’t as familiar with etc.


I actually purchased a student subscription to UptoDate and have the entire database downloaded on my phone so I can access it without WiFi connection. I love it! I often got “pimped” on things I had never heard of so having a comprehensive resource was essential.


Sleep Mask
A random thing huh? But when you work nightshift a good sleep mask for the next day is super important. I ordered this one from Amazon and it worked like a charm. In fact, I still sleep with it and have noticed that my quality of sleep has increased!


Stethoscope Holder
I got tired of having my stethoscope around my neck and my white coat pockets were too heavy so I got this handy holder and loved it.


EM Basic
This podcast is free and AMAZING. It is produced by a military Emergency Physician and it is spot on. I scheduled out which episode I would listen to when so I got through all of them on my commute to work. It is very basic but thorough in how to approach different chief complaints.



What I Carried in my White Coat

What goes into my pockets is tailored by which rotation I am on. This is what was in my pockets for this one:

  • Multiple pens
  • Highlighter
  • A notebook
  • A “cheat sheet” with my current patients on it
  • Tarascon Pharmacopeia
  • iPhone
  • Reflex hammer
  • Alcohol wipes
  • Maxwell


Things to Brush Up On

Sticking with topics like I did for OB/GYN that would be great to review before starting. Create a differential and how you would work them up:

  • Headache
  • Chest pain
  • Abdominal pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Suturing, field blocks, I&Ds
  • Female GU complaints
  • STIs


Some Tips for Success

1. Always include at least 3 things on your differential that will kill your patient if you were to miss them. Even if you don’t think that’s what’s going on.
2. Biggest thing to learn is “sick vs. not sick”. If you go into a room and your gut says “sick” go get your preceptor. Valuable time will be lost if you wait.
3. Think about the probable disposition for your patient up front. It may guide your decision-making.
4. Always have a reason for ordering each diagnostic test. Be able to articulate why you are ordering it and what you’re looking for.
5. Don’t skip the crappy charts. Take every patient that you can even if they aren’t the most exciting in the rack. You’ll learn something from all of them and your preceptor wil notice that you’re not above the grunt work.
6. Make friends with the staff. The techs and nurses will be your greatest resources if you are kind to them and use them wisely. Always offer to help them out if you have the time. They will be more likely to help you later if you do.


That pretty much sums things up! If you have specific questions let me know in the comments below or shoot me an email at footfitnessandfamily (at) Gmail (dot) com.

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Madeline @ Food, Fitness, and Family

Healthy living blogger sharing my love of yummy eats, sweaty workouts, and my sweet family!

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