Case Based Questions For Teaching EM Pharmacotherapy
This pharmacotherapy curriculum is designed for emergency medicine residents of all postgraduate years and could also be given to rotating medical students during clerkships.
Length of Curriculum:
Curriculum is to run monthly for an 18-month general curriculum cycle
Pharmacotherapy is a critical part of day-to-day practice of Emergency Medicine (EM). The purpose of this innovation is to give this subject specific dedicated instruction time. We introduced a dedicated pharmacotherapy curriculum as part of our conference time through a series of case-based question sets that mirrored our educational blocks.
Our goals were to teach residents clinical applications of EM pharmacotherapy including drug selection and consideration of alternatives, interactions, and adverse effects, as well as to prepare them for pharmacotherapy questions on board examinations.
The educational strategies used in this curriculum include: case-based vignettes, multiple choice assessments, and guided review explanation and discussion. Questions and explanations are written by resident physicians using a variety of textbooks and online resources and are then reviewed, edited, and expanded upon by attending physicians and an EM pharmacist.
This curriculum was implemented in the University of Pittsburgh Emergency Medicine residency program. Curriculum is ongoing and initial data covers a 4-month pilot period. Survey questionnaires were given before and after, using the 7-point Likert scale (1 strongly agree to 7 strongly disagree) for self-assessed knowledge and satisfaction with the curriculum. Primary measure was resident agreement with the statement, “I am confident in overall knowledge of EM pharmacotherapy.” We also surveyed readiness for independent practice, knowledge appropriate for training level, board exam preparedness, and satisfaction with curriculum.
On the whole residents did feel their pharmacology knowledge improved. Our primary marker was response to a survey question, “I am confident in my overall knowledge of EM pharmacotherapy.” In our sample of 30 residents, this question received a pretest score of 3.7 on a 7-point Likert scale (1 strongly agree, 7 strongly disagree). On post intervention surveys this score had improved to 2.6 (p = .00008). In general, residents appreciated this change in curriculum structure. Resident assessment of their improvement during the curriculum was 2.1, aligning with “agree.” Satisfaction also improved from a 3.8 on initial survey to a 3.1, with statistical significance (p =.023).
We had success in our primary outcome of self-assessed resident learning as above. Satisfaction also improved. Residents assessed self-improvement in knowledge relative to year of training, clinical practice ability, and independent practice ability by statistically significant amounts. In addition, the assessments provided the residency clinical competency committee with objective knowledge of pharmacotherapy-based topics. We feel this easy to implement and effective curriculum would be generalizable across programs looking to add options for teaching EM pharmacotherapy, or to other programs looking to add a formal instruction and evaluation component to traditionally informal curriculum.
Emergency medicine, education, pharmacotherapy, case based, questions, milestones.