Student Opportunities


Welcome to the Department of Emergency Medicine and the medical student rotation at the University of Maryland! The rotation has rapidly become one of the most popular in the School of  Medicine, with an increasing number of students choosing it every year. The elective is open to all fourth-year medical students at LCME accredited allopathic medical schools. The faculty at the University of Maryland are dedicated to providing an excellent educational experience for medical students. Under the direct supervision of emergency medicine faculty and senior residents, students will be exposed to a broad variety of acute illnesses and will develop the necessary skills to be able to provide care for the acutely ill or injured patient. Our focus is to teach medical students how to evaluate the undifferentiated patient, generate an emergency-medicine-specific differential diagnosis, and come up with a treatment plan.

Synopsis of the Rotation

Students on the fourth-year emergency medicine rotation are involved in a variety of educational experiences.


During the rotation, students work approximately 15 clinical shifts, generally a mixture of day, evening, and overnight. The majority of the clinical shifts are done in the University of Maryland emergency department.  Students work one-on-one with senior residents and faculty and see a variety of patient complaints and presentations.

A lecture series is held the first week of the 4-week rotation and usually consists of 4 to 5 lectures given by emergency medicine faculty. These sessions are a mixture of PowerPoint presentations and small-group discussions. In addition, students attend 5 hours of educational conferences for the emergency medicine residents weekly.


Laboratory sessions are one of the most popular aspects of the rotation.  Students learn how to perform the following procedures:

In 2005, a simulation lab using a state-of-the-art high-tech mannekin was added to the curriculum. Students are exposed to code scenarios and clinical cases and then manage the case. Discussions and debriefings are led by emergency medicine faculty. Emergency medicine residents on the academic development/teaching elective help teach in this lab.
The following labs are provided during the rotation:

Emergency Medicine Faculty Involvement in Medical Student Education

Emergency Medicine faculty have become increasingly involved in medical student education in all years of training. During years 1 and 2, faculty give lectures and lead small groups as part of the Pathophysiology and Therapeutics course. In addition, Dr. Ken Butler has integrated other emergency medicine material into the curriculum, such as airway management and cardiopulmonary simulation case scenarios. Multiple faculty members are also involved in the Introduction to Clinical Medicine course given for first and second-year medical students. Many of the faculty also participate in the mentoring program and regularly have students in the emergency department for shadowing.


Rotation in Emergency Medicine University of Maryland Medical Center

The emergency medicine course for fourth-year students is devoted to teaching the basic, initial evaluation, stabilization, and diagnostic approach to the patient presenting with undifferentiated disease. Students are exposed to all types of patient problems, including chest pain (myocardial infarction, pulmonary embolism, acute aortic disease, esophageal rupture), headache (subarachnoid hemorrhage, brain tumor, subdural hematoma, stroke, carbon monoxide poisoning), back pain (epidural abscess, spinal fracture, cauda equina syndrome, metastatic spinal disease), abdominal pain (appendicitis, abdominal aortic aneurysm, mesenteric ischemia, perforated bowel, cholecystitis, hepatitis, pancreatitis), blunt and penetrating trauma, seizures, overdose, acute psychiatric emergencies, coma, lacerations, and fractures.

Under the direct supervision of faculty and senior residents, students develop and learn skills in wound care management (principles of wound care, sutures, complications), splinting techniques for various fracture patterns, intravenous line placement, and the initial interpretation skills of electrocardiography and radiography. Students experience emergency medicine and participate in patient care in “real time.” Supervising faculty work with students one-on-one and give students on-the-spot feedback about history-taking skills and physical examination skills. In addition, mid-month feedback is provided by the course director.

Students are given a formal orientation to the emergency department, which includes the following:

Emergency Medicine Interest Group (EMIG)

The Emergency Medicine Interest Group at the University of Maryland is a student-run organization that organizes activities that expose students to various aspects of the practice of emergency medicine. These activities range from blood draw labs to emergency medicine residency planning. Events are planned and run with the assistance of many of the emergency medicine faculty members. They are eager to provide first- and second-year medical students with opportunities to learn more about emergency medicine. Interested students may attend any or all of the events.


The Mentoring Program

The EMIG mentoring program matches first- and second-year medical students with emergency medicine residents. Students then have the opportunity to shadow the residents while they work in the emergency department. Students accompany the resident as he/she interviews patients, completes procedures, performs resuscitations, and arranges consultations. The student's role is primarily that of observer. However, depending on the resident, the student may be allowed to practice the history-taking and physical diagnosis skills learned in the Introduction to Clinical Medicine and Physical Diagnosis courses. The mentoring program is a wonderful resource for students considering a career in emergency medicine.

Any medical student that is interested in emergency medicine can be assigned to a faculty mentor to help them gain exposure to Emergency Medicine and help in navigating the residency application process.

Summer Research Workshop

For University of Maryland students completing their first year, the University of Maryland Emergency Medicine Residency Program offers a 1-month mentored summer research workshop. The program is organized in three parts:

  1. Didactic instruction in study design.
  2. Hands-on experience working with an established emergency medicine researcher.
  3. Mentored development of student research ideas.

Research Opportunities

From time to time, students can help with research projects and gain hands-on research experience. Descriptions of these projects and the opportunities for students are circulated by email. Students who would like to be on the email list should send their name, graduation year, and email address to Dr. Michael Witting.

We sincerely hope you will consider doing a rotation with us in emergency medicine.


George Willis, M.D.
Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine
Department of Emergency Medicine
Director of Undergraduate Medical Education
The University of Maryland School of Medicine