Undergraduate Orientation

Welcome letter from the clerkship director

Welcome to your third-year Emergency Medicine Rotation.  Whether you’ve been assigned to the Emergency Department at the QEII Health Sciences Centre, IWK, Dartmouth General, Kentville- Valley Regional Hospital, Sydney- Cape Breton Healthcare Complex, Truro- Colchester Regional Hospital, Saint John- Horizon Health Network, Fredericton- Dr. Everett Chalmers Hospital, or Moncton- The Moncton Hospital, we know you will have an excellent experience as “Emergencies” happen everywhere and this standardizes the EM experience.

The Emergency Medicine undergraduate experience introduces medical students to the role of the department in the delivery of health care. The Emergency Department is in essence the “show room” for the hospital center. It is a barometer of the well-being of the community, as well as the entire health care system. In Emergency Medicine, students will notice a wide diversity of undifferentiated illness, from the simple laceration to the complexity of a myocardial infarction leading to cardiac arrest. The student will learn how the triage system coordinates how these diseases will be addressed by our inter-professional team.

I am looking forward to working with you and sharing the experiences which have made my career in Emergency Medicine challenging and rewarding. Although I will not work with each of you individually, I am always available through my office phone (473-8032) or e-mail (chriscox@dal.ca). I welcome and encourage feedback – whether positive or negative. Other members of the education team include Drs. Emma Burns, Albert Williams, Tom Goddard, Chris Milburn, Gary Altenkirk, Chris Vaillancourt, Mike Davis, and Michael Matchett.  

The syllabus for the Emergency Medicine clerkship is located on Brightspace.  To access Brightspace, go to https://dal.brightspace.com/d2l/login  and use your “My Dal” user name and password to log on to the site. If you don’t know your user name, please call IT services.

Please note, it is MANDATORY that you complete your Patient Encounters and Procedural Skills Log on One45. We also encourage you to help us by completing your preceptor’s evaluations found on One45 so that we can continue to refine our teaching skills.

At the end of your rotation please make sure to set up a time with your preceptor for a formal evaluation. ITER’s will be completed on the One45 system.

In this Emergency Medicine rotation you will make substantial gains in your history/physical exam, differential diagnosis, diagnostic test interpretation, and procedural skills and we look forward to helping you as you learn and master these skills.

Chris Cox, MA,MD,DABEM
Assistant Professor
Undergraduate Clerkship Director
Department of Emergency Medicine, Dalhousie University

Orientation location & presentation

Orientation is held on the first day your rotation in Suite 355, 1796 Summer Street, Halifax NS, unless otherwise indicated. Time to be determined.

Emergency Medicine Orientation Presentation [pdf 2.5 mb]


Your shift schedule will be sent out, via email, one week in advance of your start date. The schedule includes a variety of day, evening and night shifts. You have been given a maximum of 12 shifts during the 3-week period and a maximum of 9 shifts during the 2- week period. Any change in your schedule will only be accepted with prior approval by the site preceptor.

Simulation Bay sessions

The Dalhousie University Med III ED clerkship rotation now features two critical event simulation sessions offered in weeks 1 and 3 of the 3 week rotation. This change in the teaching paradigm is a direct result of the increasing focus on simulated medical education being seen in undergraduate medical education across North America. These fast paced, interactive sessions have become a fast favourite among students--where learners get a chance to learn about crisis resource management and team work in a safe and supportive environment. The multidisciplinary team of instructors is keen to teach and is experienced in simulated education. This hands on experience which is based on real ED cases will allow students to learn skills, and bridge gaps in learning, in order to make the most of time in the ED. Come join us for the fun, we can't wait to meet you!

Procedural Skills Shift

Early in the rotation, clerks at the QEII site will be scheduled for half a shift (approximately 4 hours) to perform procedures and not have direct patient care responsibilities. The clerk with the assistance/supervision of a nurse should perform procedures that may include: intravenous insertion, venipuncture, foley catheter insertion, NG insertion. The clerk can perform other procedures under the supervision of the respiratory technicians and the orthopedic technicians. Students from other sites have the option to schedule this shift as well.

Triage Shift

Early in the rotation, clerks at the QEII site must arrange a 2-3 hour triage shift. The triage shift allows our clerks to obtain a broader understanding of the specialty of Emergency Medicine and is primarily an observership. Students will develop an understanding of the triage process including CTAS scores as well as some of the unique challenges and frustrations of the triage process.

Evaluation forms

End of Shift Evaluation Forms

Every shift you work you must fill out a Daily Evaluation Sheet. It is the responsibility of the learners to ensure that they have completed their part, including their signature, and that they have reviewed this at the end of the shift with the teacher with whom they had most contact during the shift. Please note that the daily evaluation sheets form the basis of your rotation evaluation, and are also used to confirm shift attendance.

Evaluation of Preceptor by Learner

In addition to the End of Shift Form, each learner muct complete the Evaluation of Preceptor by Learner form on the preceptor they work with for each shift.

In-Training Evaluation Form (ITER)

At the end of your Emergency Medicine rotation, the Site Coordinator at your location will meet with you to discuss and evaluate your performance during this rotation.

Academic teaching sessions

During your rotation, you will have opportunity to attend several teaching sessions. Emergency Medicine Departmental Rounds occur at the QEII on Wednesday from 12:00-13:00 and include Grand Rounds, Visual Stimulus, Case Based Rounds Complaints and Misses, Multidisciplinary M&Ms rounds and Guest Rounds.

You are expected to attend these sessions, unless you have been working until 0400 or 0500 on the day of the sessions. Please refer to round schedule on a regular basis as the date and times are subject to change.

Dress code

As Housestaff in the Emergency Department, you are an extension of us as health care professionals. As learners, we want you to be well received by our staff, patients and their families. ED staff can rely on their experience and expertise for patient respect and confidence, however as learners, you are still developing these qualities and should dress as outlined below.

  • Appearance will be professional and in keeping with hospital regulations
  • Lab coats (hip or knee length is acceptable) are mandatory and must be clean
  • No jeans or shorts
  • Midriffs must be covered
  • Neckline must be modest
  • No bare feet or open toed sandals
  • Minimal jewelry may be worn
  • Nails must be clean and short