Emergency Medicine Training Overview
As with all the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) recognized specialties, without training there is no specialty.
Emergency Medicine residency training encompasses the content and scope of the specialty, the evolving body of knowledge, the procedural and interpersonal skills, teaching, and research. All of this is passed from one generation of emergency physicians to the next through residency training. Formal, organized, accredited training defines adequate breadth and depth of experience in the specialty.
Residency programs also are the richest learning environment most emergency physicians will ever experience. Residencies provide immediate access to the latest academic knowledge from experts dedicated to guiding and counseling young emergency physicians. Residency training also provides a sense of focus and motivation in the pursuit of a tangible short-term objective, graduation. That sense of focus is extended through preparation for the certification examination. Against this background, then, it is easy to see how recent graduates of residency training programs are truly at their peak in knowledge and training.
In 1976 before Emergency Medicine was approved as a medical specialty, the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) developed the Liaison Residency Endorsement Committee (LREC) to set voluntary standards for residency training programs in Emergency Medicine. The LREC affirmed ACEP’s commitment to high standards in residency training and Emergency Medicine. After Emergency Medicine was approved as the 23rd medical specialty, the responsibility for reviewing and accrediting Emergency Medicine training programs became the responsibility of the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME).
The ACGME oversees the accreditation process for residency training programs in all 24 recognized specialties and their approved subspecialties. Within the ACGME, there is a residency review committee for each specialty.
The Residency Review Committee for Emergency Medicine (RRC-EM) is a ten-member committee comprised of representatives from ABEM (3), ACEP (3), American Medical Association (AMA) (3) and the Emergency Medicine Residents' Association (EMRA) (1). Once appointed to the RRC-EM, the Committee members function independently of their nominating organization.
The responsibilities of the RRC-EM include the establishment of the program requirements for Emergency Medicine and its subspecialties, and the review and accreditation of training programs based on the program requirements.
In Canada, residency programs are reviewed and accredited by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC).
View the EM Resident Timeline.