Rotation: Emergency Medicine

Emergency Medicine:

  • Katie completed her rotation in Key West, Florida at Lower Keys Medical Center and Emily completed her rotation in Clearwater, Florida.  Kate was in the process of planning her wedding which took place in Key West so was lucky enough to visit vendors and get a lot of her wedding check list done during this rotation.  She stayed in a house provided by Barry with 3 other students from our Miami campus.
  • Katie worked 3 or 4 12 hours shifts a week chosen by herself. She worked a lot of night shifts so she could have more days off in a row to enjoy the area and check things off her wedding to-do list.  Emily was required to work 32 hours a week and could pick between 12 hour shifts with PAs or 8 hour shifts with Physicians.  She was also required to completed at least 2 overnight shifts during her time in this rotation.
  • We both found that this rotation left us with a lot of freedom and allowed us to see there are MANY pros to shift work, especially when you get to pick your own schedule. Emily would schedule 2 12s and 1 8 to fulfill her requirements and would have 4 days off for a week.  Talk about a breath of fresh air half way through clinicals.
  • For this rotation, it is easiest to study things that you see come into the ER. As we talked about for IM and FM rotation, having a patient reference to remember something is much easier than reading it over and over in a textbook.
    • Prior to starting this rotation there are many things you should brush up on: EKGs, ACLS, PALS, Burn Percentages, Overdoses and reversal agents, stroke protocols, sepsis protocols, suturing and splinting techniques, just to name a few
    • Books to purchase and reference/Apps to download
      • Rapid Interpretation of EKGs by Dale Dubin
      • Tintinalli’s Emergency Medicine: A Comprehensive Study Guide
      • Epocrates
      • UptoDate
  • Overall, ER rotation is fun. You see everything from the common cold, bugs in places they shouldn’t be, bones sticking out of skin, strokes, heart attacks, psychotic breakdowns, drug overdoses, and so much more.  This is a rotation where your preceptor ABSOLUTELY knows you will not know everything.  The most important thing for you to do when evaluating a patient is to figure out if the condition is life threatening or not. Be present during the days you are working.  Let the other physicians/PAs you aren’t assigned to know that you are a student and eager to see new things and we promise they will come find you.  If you don’t plan on going into EM or it scares the living day lights out of you (EMILY), put all that aside and stick it through for 6 short weeks.  You won’t have an opportunity to see emergencies like this again and it’s important to know how they are managed when they occur even if you won’t be the one treating these conditions.  In addition, you will have more free time on this rotation than any other rotation.  Use it wisely, catch up on life, enjoy… but don’t forget to study!
  • We asked an emergency room physician, “What is your biggest advice to PA students when they rotate with you?”  His response, “Learn EKGs well, be able to see sick vs. not sick, and take advantage of any procedures you can.  ER providers are generalists with a specialty in resuscitation so you’re not going to learn everything in six short weeks.”  The physicians and PAs/NPs understand this and take into account when you are there learning.

Don’t forget about all of the resources available at:


Memories from Key West.  It happened to be Pride Week while Katie was there so her and her roomies went out for a night of fun at the drag show. “Love always wins!”

What was your favorite procedure you were able to perform during your Emergency Med rotation?  Shoot us an email at 

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