Medical Student Elective in Emergency Medicine – Jefferson Hayre

This post has been written by Jefferson Hayre, a Dalhousie Medicine New Brunswick (DMNB) Med 2 student. Jefferson describes his experience on elective in the Saint John Regional Hospital Emergency Medicine Department and offers advice for those considering doing a similar elective.

Medical Student Elective in Emergency Medicine, April 2015

Jefferson Hayre



This past semester I have completed my elective in the Emergency Department with Dr. Lewis and it has been a wonderful opportunity. If you are looking for an opportunity to obtain a broad range of skills and experiences, then an Emergency Medicine elective is a solid choice. Below, I have listed some of the pros of doing elective in Emergency Medicine and some recommendations of how to get the most out of your experience that I hope you will find helpful.


Real patients: In this elective you will have the opportunity to see and interact with real patients, often independently. This experience has allowed me to develop my communication skills with patients and improve my confidence. I feel much more prepared to enter a room with a patient and have a discussion about their complaint then I did before this elective began.

Huge variety: In this elective you will be exposed to a wide variety of patient complaints and problems of varying acuity. You will see paediatric patients, elderly patients, pregnant patients, and more. You will get to take histories on everything from psychiatry to cardiovascular.

Clinical Skills: This elective has been the best opportunity for me to practice my clinical skills. It has served me well in preparing me for clerkship and for OSCE exams. Seeing patients with a variety of complaints has consolidated my clinical skills and has allowed me to integrate different exams to suite a patient’s needs.



Wait until Med II: Emergency Medicine is exciting and there is no doubt that you are going to want to check it out early on in Medical School, but I would really recommend waiting until Med II. By Med II you will have at least covered all the body systems in the Skilled Clinician program, which will provide you with a good base upon which to start. I really think the second half of Med II is the ideal time for this elective. At this point you will have covered the neurology and psychiatry components of the curriculum, and will be moving onto cardiology, respiratory, nephrology, and musculoskeletal components of your education.

Vary your shifts: Make sure to vary your shifts, both in time and area. By this I mean try coming in mornings, evenings, and weekend to understand how services change depending on the time of day. Additionally make sure to have a shift or two in RAZ, as the patient population and complaints are much different. RAZ provides a great opportunity to see patients with MSK, Psychiatry, Paediatric, Urological, and Gynaecological presentations. Meanwhile, in acute you may get to see complaints that are cardiac, gastrointestinal, or neurological in nature.

Interprofessional Collaboration: Use one of your shifts to work with the nursing staff working in both triage and on the floor. From this you will gain a better understanding of how the department works and what the roles of each profession entail. You will gain a better understanding of the patient’s full experience in the department and how they y progress through the department who they interact with along the way.


See previous Student Elective Reports

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