This post is for those who are considering applying to Emergency Medicine residency in the US. The application process is quite different for this speciality therefore I thought of sharing my experience.
First, congratulations for making your mind and taking this path. It took me a while to decide what I wanted to do but I can't tell you how good it feels once you make this decision. Second, please keep in mind how competitive this speciality is. It is one of the most competitive specialities for many reasons such as shift work and financial compensation. Out of 2278 spots offered in 2018, only 29 positions were non Caribbean IMGs! Yes the number is scary and people might consider it insanity to apply to this speciality. However, there is a good reason why it is AMGs predominant which is there are not many qualified applicants!
The question is now how be qualified?
Number one factor is your Standard Letter of Evaluation (SLOEs). This of this as a fancy letter of recommendation. You need at least two of this. It carries a huge weight in your application and is more important than your board scores! This letter is written by a board certified emergency physician who works at an emergency medicine department with a residency program. It basically a letter of recommendation in a question and answer format in which it compares the student with other students/interns. Emergency physicians have short attention span and don't have time to read long traditional LORs.There are two types of SLOEs, departmental and faculty. The departmental one is basically a sum of your daily evaluations at the end of the shift. It is written by the clerkship director and signed of by the program director at that institution. This letter has to be obtained during an elective not an observership. This is one of the factors that limit the number of IMGs as you need to do rotations as undergraduate student. However, if you already graduated, there is a way to get it but I'm not gonna mention that here as it is a long process. For more information, please check out this website.
The second factor is the Standard Video Interview- SVI. This is different than the regular residency interview. It is an extra step you need to do. Basically it is half an hour long in which you sit in front of a camera and answer questions on the screen. They record you and you will be evaluated by experts in job recruitment. They started this year with Emergency Medicine as it is a medium size speciality but they are planning to expand and make it mandatory for all specialities. You can visit this website for more information.
Last but not least is connection! Join interest groups such as ACEP and SAEM. They have mentorship program for those who are interested in EM. They also hold residency fair in which each program has a booth in which the program director and one of the resident stand to answer your questions. You go sell yourself to each booth. AMGs print out their name, AAMC number and contact information on a business card and go by the booths and distribute it to program directors! Yes it is next level and I wish I knew about it before.
This is my personal view of EM. There are lots of details which go into it but I didn't want to make this post too long. Please reach out for me if you have any questions. I'll try my best to help but I'm still in the application process and didn't get into residency yet.