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How to make the most of emergency medicine rotations

Be punctual, stay active and don’t overstep your boundaries, says Dru Morgan, OMS IV, who shared his tips for success with EM Resident magazine.


“Stay one step ahead, be humble, be kind to everyone, and success will surely follow.” That’s one piece of advice from Dru Morgan, a fourth-year student at Lincoln Memorial University-DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine in Harrogate, Tennessee, who recently shared his tips for emergency medicine rotation success in EM Resident magazine. Morgan matched into an emergency medicine residency at Charleston Area Medical Center in Charleston, West Virginia. Among his other tips:

    • Stay on your feet. “Be the eyes and ears for your resident, and check on the patients as often as you can. How are therapies working? Any new symptoms? Has the pain resolved? Any questions for the physicians?” Morgan says. However, he notes, this approach may not be appropriate for all patients.
  • Don’t overstep your boundaries. “Sometimes it could be as simple as saying, “‘Yes ma’am, we can give you another dose of the medication before you leave,’” Morgan notes. “This becomes problematic when the resident or attending doesn’t agree and you’ve set the expectation with the patient.”
  • Be on time. “Many of you would be surprised how often students on auditions are routinely late,” Morgan says. “By showing up early, you might be able to ask the resident coming off shift for more information on the patients—and get more face time with them as well.”

For more advice, read the full piece in EM Resident magazine.


  1. Tom Grawey, DO

    I would say the thing I that impresses me the most with rotating students in the ED (and something I had to learn as an OMS-IV) was to continue to follow my patients in the ED. You get used to your other rotations where you see the patient once, write a note, come up with a plan and then don’t worry much about it until rounds tomorrow since it takes a day for the plan to take place. In the ED things are coming back rapidly and while as a student you want to see the next patient in order to present and prove you know work ups, as a resident I’m more impressed by the student who catches lab/radiology results and has checked on the patient (like Dru mentioned) than by someone who can tell me the work up for a middle aged man with chest pain. Come to me and say “Hey Tom, Mrs. Smith’s CT scan is back and is normal, her blood work is unremarkable and her pain is gone, I think she’s ready to be discharged” and I know you’re starting to get what EM is about.

  2. Dr. Bill

    Agree. Get there early, attend to the needs of the resident/attending, and the patients. No promises to patients. Don’t over talk the house staff. If you disagree, only do so away from patients. Until you are really accepted and have made the house staff comfortable, listen, listen, listen. If you want to suture, sit there with your practice set, showing your interest. Read everybody’s ECG, review the films on all patient, be all things to all people but don’t talk too much :) Until you are accepted

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