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Self-reported priorities and resources of academic emergency physicians for the maintenance of clinical competence: a pilot study

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 May 2015

Jonathan Sherbino*
Division of Emergency Medicine, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ont. Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, Ottawa, Ont.
Suneel Upadhye
Division of Emergency Medicine, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ont.
Andrew Worster
Division of Emergency Medicine, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ont. Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ont.
Emergency Department, Hamilton Health Sciences, 237 Barton St. E., Hamilton ON L8L 2X2;


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Medical licensing bodies and professional colleges require their members to maintain a broad spectrum of knowledge, skills and attitudes, which, when taken together, define a competent emergency physician (EP). The objectives of this pilot study were: 1) to determine the resources used by academic EPs to maintain competence and 2) to determine academic EPs' learning priorities.


Using a modified Dillman method, we surveyed EPs from 2 Canadian academic tertiary health sciences centres.


Thirty-seven (68.5%) of 54 EPs responded. Of those responding, 14 (37.8%) attended grand rounds 3 times or more annually, and 34 (91.7%) attended a medical conference or course at least once annually. Thirty-three (89.2%) respondents read journal articles at least once monthly, with 22 (59.5%) of those reading synopses of original articles. Twenty-three (62.1%) received clinical updates via email, and 11 (29.7%) subscribed to an audio journal or podcast of reviews of original research. Among the CanMEDS roles, Medical Expert, Scholar and Manager were selected as top professional development priorities by more than one-third of respondents. The topics that were not selected as priorities by respondents included patient communication and charting (Communicator); conflict resolution skills and teamwork abilities (Collaborator); advocate for patient and promote health in emergency department populations (Health Advocate) and ethical conflict resolution (Professional).


The results of this pilot study suggest that in order to maintain clinical competence in emergency medicine, traditional formats of professional development (e.g., grand rounds, print media and original research) are being substituted for independent study, online media and reviews of original research. This study also suggests a strong preference for Medical Expert topics, while Professional, Health Advocate, Collaborator and Communicator topics are not a reported priority for professional development.

Education • Enseignement
Copyright © Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians 2009



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