Emergency Medicine Curriculum Utilizing the Flipped Classroom Method: Environmental Emergencies
This curriculum created and implemented at The Ohio State University Emergency Medicine Residency was designed to educate our emergency medicine (EM) residents, PGY-1 to PGY-3, as well as medical students and attending physicians.
Environmental complaints are commonly seen in the emergency department (ED). In 2015, injuries from natural and environmental factors represented about 2 million ED visits in the United States, representing 4.9% of all ED visits.1 Environmental illness includes injuries from cold, heat, barotrauma, altitude, electricity, radiation, submersion, and animal bites, stings, and envenomation. Emergency physicians must be proficient in the differential diagnosis and management of the wide variety of environmental emergencies.
The flipped classroom curricular model emphasizes self-directed learning activities completed by learners, followed by small group discussions pertaining to the topic reviewed. The active learning fostered by this curriculum increases faculty and learner engagement and interaction time typically absent in traditional lecture-based formats.2-6 Studies have revealed that the application of knowledge through case studies, personal interaction with content experts, and integrated questions are effective learning strategies for emergency medicine residents.6-8 The Ohio State University Emergency Medicine Residency didactic curriculum recently transitioned to a “flipped classroom” approach.9-12 We created this innovative curriculum aimed to improve our residency education program and to share educational resources with other EM residency programs. Our curriculum utilizes an 18-month curricular cycle to cover the defined emergency medicine content based on the American Board of Emergency Medicine (ABEM) model curriculum. The flipped classroom curriculum maximizes didactic time and resident engagement, fosters intellectual curiosity and active learning, and meets the needs of today’s learners.6,9,13
Through a flipped classroom design, we aim to teach the presentation and management of environmental emergencies, specifically cold related illness, heat related illness, undersea medicine, high altitude medicine, submersion, electrocution, radiation injury, and envenomation. This unique, innovative curriculum utilizes resources chosen by education faculty and resident learners, study questions, real-life experiences, and small group discussions in place of traditional lectures. In doing so, a goal of the curriculum is to encourage self-directed learning, improve understanding and knowledge retention, and improve the educational experience of our residents.
The educational strategies used in this curriculum include small group modules authored by education faculty and content experts based on the core emergency medicine content. Faculty were trained to facilitate sessions using the Socratic Method question and answer format, with a focus on fostering an open learning environment. Small groups also focus on the synthesis and application of knowledge through the discussion of real-life experiences. Resources were provided for residents as pre-reading prior to in-person, case-based discussion. Students were also encouraged to find their own references including use of free open access medical education (FOAM) resources.
Emergency medicine, flipped classroom, medical education, environmental emergencies, pedagogy, teaching.