To characterize the current state of Canadian emergency medicine (EM) resident research and develop recommendations to promote excellence in this area.
We performed a systematic review of MEDLINE, Embase, and ERIC using search terms relevant to EM resident research. We conducted an online survey of EM residency program directors from the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC) and College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC). An expert panel reviewed these data, presented recommendations at the Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians 2014 Academic Symposium, and refined them based on feedback received.
Of 654 potentially relevant citations, 35 articles were included. These were categorized into four themes: 1) expectations and requirements, 2) training and assessment, 3) infrastructure and support, and 4) dissemination. We received 31 responses from all 31 RCPSC-EM and CFPC-EM programs. The majority of EM programs reported requiring a resident scholarly project; however, we found wide-ranging expectations for the type of resident research performed and how results were disseminated, as well as the degree of completion expected. Although 93% of RCPSC-EM programs reported providing formal training on how to conduct research, only 53% of CFPC-EM programs reported doing so. Almost all programs (94%) reported having infrastructure in place to support resident research, but the nature of support was highly variable. Finally, there was marked variability regarding the number of resident-published abstracts and manuscripts.
Based on the literature, our national survey, and discussions with stakeholders, we offer 14 recommendations encompassing goals, expectations, training, assessment, infrastructure, and dissemination in order to improve Canadian EM resident research.