Competence and Challenges of Emergency Medicine Training as Reported by Emergency Medicine Residents

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The American Board of Emergency Medicine conducts an annual survey of residents in Emergency Medicine, the Longitudinal Study of Residents in Emergency Medicine survey. Objective: This study was undertaken to describe self-reported competence and challenges facing Emergency Medicine (EM) residents.


In this descriptive, observational analysis of the Longitudinal Study of Residents in Emergency Medicine survey, survey data from 1996–2008 were compared for 70 survey items. Responses were analyzed with means and 95% confidence intervals by post-graduate year (PGY) and over time.


A total of 496 residents were included in this study. Most participated for 3 years, for a total of 1320 total responses. The most serious day-to-day challenges reported by residents (overall median scores of 3 or more) included knowing enough, keeping up with the medical literature, having enough time for personal life, ancillary support, and having enough time for family. Current level of competence in areas deemed weakest by residents included grant writing, contract negotiation, academic writing, disaster planning, research, and financial management. Residents reported improved competence in most (15 out of 16) areas from PGY-1 to PGY-3 year of training. Resident reports of competence did not change significantly over time from 1998–2008 (15 out of 16 items).


Emergency Medicine residents identified several important day-to-day problems, including knowing enough, keeping up with the medical literature, and having enough time for a personal life. PGY-3 residents reported improved competence in almost all aspects of EM work and clinical EM as compared to PGY-1 residents. Knowledge of perceived competence and problems among EM residents is crucial to the development of improved educational approaches to address these issues.



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