Emergency Department (ED) crowding is a major public health problem and one that has not been well studied for its effects on education. The objective of this article was to identify best-practice, consensus recommendations to help emergency medicine (EM) residency programs and faculty maintain educational excellence in an era of ED crowding.
A geographically diverse group of 37 clinician-educator leaders in EM convened at the 2010 Council of Emergency Medicine Residency Directors Academic Assembly. The participants discussed innovative ideas and solutions to address the many educational challenges that ED crowding poses.
To cope with crowding, the consensus group identified 3 educational domains, focusing on the educator, the learner, and the institutional system. Core subthemes included optimizing teaching opportunities, providing alternative teaching approaches, and redefining what faculty and learners traditionally think of as teaching. An ED rotation provides ample opportunities for teaching not only about patient care and medical knowledge but also other Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education competencies, such as interpersonal and communication skills, professionalism, and system-based practice.
Crowding in EDs poses educational challenges, but with some creativity, flexibility, and desire to make the most of a challenging situation, educational excellence is an achievable goal.