Welcome to Emergency Medicine!

This rotation is a spectacular opportunity to gain exposure to, and learn to diagnose and manage a wide variety of clinical illnesses and injuries.

On this rotation, you will integrate and use what you have learned on each of your third year specialty rotations. Irrespective of your eventual specialty interests, the Emergency Medicine rotation has many important educational benefits.

Diagnostic skills

During this four-week rotation you will see more patients as the primary provider than during any other one-month period in medical school.

Because most ED patients present without an already made diagnosis (i.e. are undifferentiated), you will have an opportunity to more fully develop and fine tune your diagnostic skills, including:

  • History-taking
  • Physical diagnosis
  • Laboratory and radiographic testing modalities
  • Differential diagnoses

Patient care

Many patients who present to the ED do so with common outpatient problems (e.g., back pain, headache, minor trauma, upper respiratory tract infections, urinary tract infections).

Other patients will present with acute, potentially life-threatening disease or injury requiring quick therapeutic decisions.

You will be an important and integral member of the Emergency Department team responsible for the care of these patients. 


You will also have the opportunity to develop skills in several basic and common procedures, including:

  • Blood draws
  • Insertion of intravenous catheters
  • Incision and drainage of abscesses
  • Laceration repair
  • Lumbar puncture

You will begin to function at the level of a junior house officer for one of the first times in your medical career.

This provides a unique opportunity for observation, instruction, and suggestions for improvement in your medical knowledge and skills.

It is our hope and goal that these four weeks will be some of the most rewarding, educational, and enjoyable of your medical school years.