Emergency Medicine Interest Group Curriculum: Faculty and Preclinical Student Opinions Differ in a Formal Needs Assessment

  • Carol Lee
    Department of Emergency Medicine, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, Torrance, California
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  • Sebastian Uijtdehaage
    Center for Educational Development and Research, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles, California
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  • Wendy C. Coates
    Reprint Address: Wendy C. Coates, md, Department of Emergency Medicine, Box 21, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, 1000 West Carson St. Torrance, CA 90509-2910
    Department of Emergency Medicine, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, Torrance, California

    Center for Educational Development and Research, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles, California

    Los Angeles Biomedical Institute at Harbor-UCLA, Torrance, California
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Published:February 01, 2010DOI:


      Background: Medical students and Emergency medicine (EM) faculty may have differing opinions on the ideal curriculum during the preclinical years. Objectives: To assess the perceived needs of preclinical medical students exploring EM and compare them with those of EM faculty regarding appropriate educational interventions. Methods: A survey instrument listing 15 workshops related to EM was administered to preclinical medical students in our Emergency Medicine Interest Group (EMIG), and to EM faculty. Respondents graded the perceived utility of each workshop offered at our medical school and those identified via a web search for EMIG. No recommendations for EMIG curriculum were identified through PubMed. Fisher's exact tests were computed using SPSS (SPSS Inc., Chicago, IL) with α = 0.05. Results: There were 48 medical students and 15 faculty members who completed the survey. Students strongly desired workshops in suturing (48/48; 100%), splinting (47/48; 97.9%), and basic electrocardiogram (ECG) interpretation (47/48; 97.9%). Least desired topics were history of EM (16/48; 33.3%), getting involved in EM organizations (20/48; 41.7%), and wellness (21/48; 43.8%). Women chose the domestic violence workshop more than men (p = 0.036). Faculty strongly supported workshops in conducting focused history and physical examination (14/15; 93.3%), the specialty of EM (14/15; 93.3%), and basic ECG interpretation (12/15; 80.0%). The lowest rated faculty preferences were ultrasound (5/15; 33.3%), history of EM (7/15; 46.7%), and emergency radiology (7/15; 46.7%). Conclusions: Preclinical students and faculty opinions of important educational workshops differed. Faculty favored the approach to the undifferentiated patient and an introduction to the specialty, whereas students preferred hands-on workshops. Both groups agreed that basic ECG interpretation was useful. These data may be useful for designing an educational program that is interesting to preclinical students while still meeting the needs as perceived by medical student educators.


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