An Emergency Medicine Society To the Editor: The faculty members of a medical school emergency department have many opportunities to advance the specialty of emergency medicine but may not be aware of an opportunity unique to their setting. Medical schools have student organizations. Many schools have student organizations dedicated to the "old line" specialties of medicine, such as surgery ~ind internal medicine, and even family medicine. Why not emergency medicine? Founded in 1980, the Emergency Medicine Society of the Jefferson Medical College was established to foster a greater awareness of the Specialty of emergency medicine. Another such society has been established at Penn State University, The Milton S Hershey Medical Center College of Medicine. These clubs needn't be an organized attempt to convince more people to pursue emergency medicine as a career. There are, however, many benefits to students and the specialty from this organization. During the period in which the basic sciences are the focus of study, activities and experiences sponsored by the Emergency Medicine Society may be the first and even only opportunity to "feel like a doctor" in the preclinical years. In addition to ego gratification, the opportunity to learn and master basic clinical skills, such as IV starting, ABG sampling, and suturing, in a supervised, nonthreatening environment, is without equal. These intentions are best done through interactions of "student-friendly" emergency medicine faculty and nursing staff (and residents, if available). The ED offers unique experiences in clinical medicine, especially for the first- and second-year medical student who may have little or no clinical background. Among the opportunities that can be implemented are lectures (informal, usually with beverage and food), skill sessions, and "ED observation experience," "hands-on, no scut" opportunities to experience the practice of medicine. Lecture
topics by the emergency medicine staff can be pertinent and readily geared to the first- and second-year level. Even third- and fourth-year students have availed themselves of the clinical opportunities and indicated they have been benefited by them. If timed correctly amidst the preclinical examination schedule, an hour or two of a break from the study of didactic material is well tolerated. Special guidance to students possibly or clearly interested in emergency medicine as a career can be given through the society, establishing the faculty contacts, as well as a student file of residency and senior student elective ED rotations. One may wish to sponsor an annual speaker geared to the entire university community, Jefferson has sponsored the "Black and Blue" (school colors, not just a n emergency medicine pun) award and lecture. Speakers, "prominent persons who have made a significant contribution to emergency medicine," have included H Arnold Muller, MD, Peter Safar, MD, and Candy Lightner, founder of Mothers Against Drunk Driving. The specialty of emergency medicine and the ED setting, through an emergency medicine society, offer many unique opportunities to increase awareness of emergency medicine and provide a substantial strengthening of the medical student educational experience in a thoroughly enjoyed environment. Academic EDs may wish to consider this involvement. Please contact us if we may be of assistance to the establishment of a program such as this at your institution.
Richard T Cook, Jr, MD Joseph A Zeccardi, MD David Yarnall Emergency Medicine Penn State University College of Medicine Hershey, Pennsylvania
Annals of Emergency Medicine
19:1 January 1990