Welcome to the Emergency Medicine course! Whether your contribution to medicine will be made in Emergency Medicine or another specialty, emergencies occur in all specialties and in life (e.g. “Is there a doctor on the plane?”). Thus, it is vitally important for you to have the tools to deal with common emergencies that you are likely to encounter during your residency or even in life.

The 4-week Emergency Medicine course will introduce the student to emergency medicine and the initial management strategies for common life-threatening emergencies. You will develop an approach to common undifferentiated patient complaints and a practical skill set in acid-base emergencies, basic airway management, electrocardiogram interpretation, and electrolyte emergencies. During the week, there are daily didactic sessions as well as procedure labs and high-fidelity simulations. Clinical shifts are spread across a variety of ED practice settings (adult and pediatrics) and offer a broad exposure. You will work closely with emergency medicine faculty and residents to identify sick patients and develop differential diagnoses and management plans.

Rotation objectives:

  • Introduce initial management strategies for common life-threatening emergencies, including a systematic approach to the priorities of resuscitation.

  • Develop an approach to commonly encountered undifferentiated patient complaints, including abdominal pain, altered mental status, chest pain, and shortness of breath.

  • Develop a practical skill set in acid-base emergencies, advanced cardiac life support, basic airway management, basic life support, electrocardiogram interpretation, and electrolyte emergencies.

  • Perform focused histories and physicals to develop ranked differential diagnoses for common complaints (abdominal pain, altered mental status, chest pain, and shortness of breath) that include high morbidity and mortality conditions and guide the use of diagnostic tests.

  • Perform concise, clear patient presentations to faculty and consultant physicians.

  • Employ knowledge support tools such as evidence based diagnostic criteria, management guidelines, and point of care information resources to inform patient care.

  • Integrate into the Emergency Care Team and employ flexible communication strategies with patients, families, and all members of the Emergency Care Team (e.g. physicians, nurses, paramedics, technicians, and prehospital providers).


All visiting students must have completed core clerkships or rotations in Medicine, Surgery, Pediatrics, Neurology, Psychiatry, Obstetrics, and Gynecology. Visiting student spots are typically available in June, July, August, and September. The rotation follows the VUSM academic calendar and you must be available for the duration of the rotation.

Our visiting student program is currently on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We will post additional information about when (or if) we are able to accept visiting students.

Interested students should apply through VSLO. Click here (https://students-residents.aamc.org/attending-medical-school/article/visiting-student-learning-opportunities/) to apply.

Emergency Medicine is an amazing specialty and due to the increasing number of residency applications, we cannot automatically guarantee you an interview for a residency position after completing an away rotation with us.


Diversity Scholars Visiting Student Program

Here at Vanderbilt University Medical Center we truly value diversity. The Diversity Scholars Visiting Student Program is designed to expose medical students from underrepresented in medicine (URM) backgrounds to our clinical departments and foster interest in Vanderbilt residency training programs.

This program would provide financial assistance for current fourth-year medical students to complete a four-week rotation at Vanderbilt in one of our outstanding clinical departments. Eligible students must be in good standing at an accredited medical school in the US. Ultimate acceptance into this program is dependent upon acceptance for an away rotation by the registrar and the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine Office of Enrollment Services. Accepted students will be provided with monies to offset application fees, travel to Nashville, and housing costs during their four-week rotation. Any questions about this program should be directed to the Office for Diversity Affairs at (615) 343-8299. Click here (https://vanderbiltem.com/images/2017handouts/Application.pdf) to complete the application.

We hope you decide to join us!


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