American Academy of Emergency Medicine

Family Practice Graduates and Emergency Medicine

Colorado Family Practice Graduates' Preparation for and Practice of Emergency Medicine

Hall WI, Nowels D.

JABFP. 2000:13:246-250.

Family physicians provide coverage in many rural emergency departments. Despite the ongoing presence of family physicians as providers of emergency care, very little has been published about their preparation for providing these services. The purpose of this study is to describe the experiences of new graduates from Colorado family practice residencies in providing emergency care and the graduates' perceptions of their preparedness for practicing emergency medicine. The results raise serious concerns regarding the quality of emergency care provided by these physicians.

The respondents averaged only seven weeks of emergency department training during their family practice residency. Forty-six percent did not feel their training adequately prepared them for working in an emergency department. There were significant deficiencies reported regarding the ability to care for major trauma. This inadequate preparation for emergency practice is of concern in the rural setting where the physician often lacks rapid other specialty support.

Forty percent of the respondents of this study were willing to complete additional extensive emergency medical training and most of the family practice residents felt that trauma management was definitely an area that needs improvement.