Resident perspectives of EMS as a subspecialty

Paula J. Willoughby, Robert A. Suter, Diana Williams, Debra G. Perina

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Objective. Emergency medical services (EMS) is frequently considered to be a subspecialty of emergency medicine (EM) despite the unavailability of subspecialty certification. An assessment of future interest in EMS subspecialization and the perceived educational needs of potential EMS physicians was performed in order to provide data to leaders responsible for development of this subspecialty area. Methods. A survey concerning EMS subspecialization issues was distributed to 2,464 members of the Emergency Medicine Residents Association (EMRA). Questions addressed demographic information, interest in EMS, educational issues, and desired credentials. The response rate was 30% (n = 737). All surveys were analyzed by the Pearson chi-square probability and Mantel-Haenszel tests for linear association. Results. A moderate to very high interest in EMS medical direction was expressed by 84% of the respondents, with 14% interested in full-time EMS positions. This interest increased with years of training (p < 0.0001). Almost 89% believed that EMS physicians should have special preparations prior to practice beyond EM residency training. Fewer than half (44%) thought that an EM residency provided sufficient preparation for a significant role in EMS, and this perception increased in intensity with years of training (p < 0.0052). Interest in EMS fellowships (24%) would increase to 36% if subspecialty certification were available (p < 0.0001). Thirty-nine percent believed subcertification should be required of all EMS medical directors if available. Conclusions. Many EM residents have an interest in active participation in EMS on either a part-time or a full-time basis. Most respondents think EMS is a unique area requiring focused education beyond an EM residency. Interest in EMS fellowships would greatly increase if subspecialty certification were available.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)47-51
Number of pages5
JournalPrehospital Emergency Care
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • EMS
  • emergency medical services
  • resident
  • subcertification
  • subspecialization
  • subspecialty

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine
  • Emergency


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