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The need for quality and quantity in emergency medical care rotations for interns

To the Editor: A national registration standard for internship will apply from 2014.1 In addition to 10-week rotations in medicine and surgery, interns will need to obtain 8 weeks’ experience in emergency medical care. A national framework for the accreditation of intern training programs is also being developed.2

The new standard allows emergency medical care rotations outside of emergency departments (EDs), including selected general practices. Although primary care settings can facilitate valuable training, there is limited evidence that a community placement can effectively substitute for an emergency medicine term.

Emergency medicine terms expose interns to a broad range of acute undifferentiated illness not often encountered in other rotations.3 These terms also facilitate acquisition of key skills and knowledge, including the ability to prioritise under time pressure, recognise “sick” and “well” patients, perform common procedures and interact with other health care team members.3,4 EDs are the most appropriate setting…