The objective of this study was to assess medical students' knowledge of and attitudes toward the two Canadian emergency medicine (EM) residency programs (Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Canada [FRCPC] and Certificant of the College of Family Physicians-Emergency Medicine [CCFP-EM]). Additionally, medical students interested in EM were asked to select factors affecting their preferred choice of residency training program and their intended future practice.
Medical students enrolled at The University of Western Ontario for the 2008–2009 academic year were invited to complete an online 47-item questionnaire pertaining to their knowledge, opinions, and attitudes toward EM residency training.
Of the 563 students invited to participate, 406 (72.1%) completed the survey. Of the respondents, 178 (43.8%) expressed an interest in applying to an EM residency training program, with 85 (47.8%) most interested in applying to the CCFP-EM program.
The majority of respondents (54.1%) interested in EM believed that there should be two streams to EM certification, whereas 18.0% disagreed. Family life and control over work schedule appeared to be common priorities seen as benefits of any career in EM. Other high-ranking factors influencing career choice differed between the groups interested in CCFP-EM and FRCPC. The majority of students interested in the CCFP-EM residency program (78%) reported that they intend to blend their EM with their family medicine practice. Only 2% of students planned to practice only EM with no family medicine.
This is the first survey of Canadian medical students to describe disparities in factors influencing choice of EM residency stream, perceptions of postgraduate work life, and anticipated practice environment.