Study objective: To characterize the role of emergency medicine residency programs in determining emergency medicine career choice among medical students. Design: Observational, cross-sectional, descriptive study. Information on student career choice was obtained through a targeted query of the National Resident Matching Program data base, simultaneously stratified by specialty and school, and adjusted for class size. Participants: All accredited emergency medicine residency programs and four-year allopathic medical schools. Results: Fifty-two schools (42%) had a closely affiliated emergency medicine residency program, ie, one based primarily at the institution's main teaching hospital(s). This configuration was associated with a 70% increase in the median proportion of students choosing emergency medicine as a career when compared to the 73 schools with no closely affiliated emergency medicine residency (5.1 % vs 3.0%, P<.0001). When institutions were stratified by overall commitment to emergency medicine, the median proportion of students choosing emergency medicine as a career was 2.9% for institutions with a minimal commitment to emergency medicine (neither an academic department of emergency medicine nor a closely affiliated emergency medicine residency), 4.1% for institutions with a moderate commitment to emergency medicine (either a department of emergency medicine or an emergency medicine residency, but not both), and 5.7% for institutions with a substantial commitment to emergency medicine (a department of emergency medicine and an emergency medicine residency) (P<.0001). When institutional commitment to emergency medicine was examined in a simple multivariate model, only the presence of an emergency medicine residency was associated independently with student career choice (P<.001). Conclusion: An emergency medicine residency program that is closely affiliated with a medical school is strongly and independently associated with a quantitatively and statistically significant increase in the proportion of students from that school who choose a career in emergency medicine. These data support the proposition that, if emergency medicine is to meet national manpower shortage needs by attracting students to the specialty, it must establish residency programs within the primary teaching hospital(s) of medical schools. Such a configuration does not currently exist in the majority of schools.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Emergency Medicine