Top Resources For Your Emergency Medicine Rotation

[Ultimate Guide] Resources For Your Emergency Medicine Rotation

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What resources do you need for your emergency medicine rotation? About to start your EM rotation soon and not sure how to decide?

Maybe you’re wanting to go into emergency medicine – what resources will help you crush your rotation?

Well in today’s post I got you!

Fair warning – there’s going to be a lot. But this is the blog post I could not find when I was about to start my rotation.

Just like you, I want to know – how do I well on the EM rotation?

After much trial and error – trying out multiple books, websites, podcasts, etc. – I finally came up with this list.

But before we start, quick question … are you wanting a better way to study for your clinical rotations?

Want to learn a repeatable step-by-step plan that helped me ace all my shelf exams?

Want to learn about the effective notebook method I did with Case Files to make my studying easy?

If so download our free guide on how to study For Your Clinical Rotations.

How To Study Clinical Rotation Guide

You can find it here.

So are you ready to get honors on your emergency medicine rotation?

Let’s do it!

Top Books For Emergency Medicine:

Case Files For Emergency Medicine:

Caser Files Emergency Medicine 5th ed

I loved this book for my EM rotation!

This book is a great example of high-yield info, brief, and put together in a very easy to understand format.

If you’re new to Case Files the name kind of gives away the structure of the book.

There are 60 cases all referring to common presentations you’re like to see during your rotation and definitely if this is your future career path.

They also come with great images and end of chapter questions.

If you’re efficient and avoid distractions – you can easily do 2-3 cases in a sitting (plus more on the weekends)

It’s also compact enough to lug around with you on your shifts. Read during any downtime between patients.

You can check out what other students thought about Case Files in the link below.

Learn more about Case Files here.

Case Files became one of my favorite resources for all my rotations. It was easy to apply my notebook method.

Want to learn about how to use the notebook method for your emergency medicine rotation?

Download our free step-by-step guide on how to study for your clinical rotations.

It’ll surely help you on your EM rotation!

Again check out Case Files For Emergency Medicine here.

Blueprint Emergency Medicine:

Blueprints Emergency Medicine (Blueprints Series)

This book has been a fan favorite amongst students in the past.

It does have some similarities to Case Files. The topics are short, high-yield, and are often followed by practice questions.

Compared to Case Files, however, Blueprint does tend to get into a lot more detail and cover more topics.

So if you’re a student who’s not satisfied with just the high-yield or need something more than Case Files – then Blueprint Emergency Medicine may be for you!

Many students have spoken highly of the 2-3 page concise review of topics.

Some even compared it to reading Step 1 for first aid. I wouldn’t go that far, but the content you need (a few topics like ATLS are missing) can be found in Blueprint Emergency Medicine.

Check out the book and the reviews here. 

Emergency Medicine Pre-Test:

PreTest Emergency Medicine 5th ed

Now we’re getting back to one of my favorite review series … Pre-Test.

For those unfamiliar with Pre-Test, they created 500-practice question review books for each major rotation.

You can find my review for other versions of Pre-Test here.

Now lets’ talk Pre-Test for the emergency medicine shelf exam.

Simply put – it’s probably all you need to ace your shelf exam. In fact, the questions are written for Step 2CK, so you can also crush the EM questions from Step 2 using this book. (Learn more about studying for Step 2 CK here) 

It is a bigger book with its 500 questions so it’s not the easiest to carry around on your shift. But it’s a great resource to come home to, cozy up, and do some practice questions. (Well maybe not that cozy.)

But in all seriousness, I highly recommend this text as a supplement for our EM Rotation. You’ll likely crush your shelf exam if you can get through all the questions and explanations.

Check out Pre-Test and its reviews here. 

Emergency Medicine Secrets:

Emergency Medicine Secrets 7th ed

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a book with everything you needed to know?

Now wouldn’t it also be nice to not have a multiple choice in the way before you learned something? I sure could use a break from practice questions.

That’s where Emergency Medicine Secrets comes in.

This is a phenomenal resource and I loved its Step 2 CK counterpart to help me crush that exam!

The way EM Secrets works is simple. It breaks down all the major topics based on the most common questions, concepts, and principles you must understand.

So use EM Secrets to help you crush the rotation and for sure your shelf exam.

Now quick warning the book is around 700 pages! Many of you may have read that and immediately lost interest in the book.

But I promise you that 700 pages in EM Secrets are likely going to be faster than the 300 pages in Case Files and Pre-Test!


Well think of EM Secrets like a rapid-fire Q&A session. Some questions are short, easy, and show up multiple times in several different topics. Those won’t take you much time.

Instead, you can just focus on the long-winded questions which give you trouble.

I used this same approach for Step 2 Secrets and was able to get through the book not once but twice during the last week!

Yes it may require some skimming but you don’t want to miss out on this resource in my opinion!

Check out it’s near 5-star rating on Amazon and how many good things other students have to say about it!

Check out Emergency Medicine Secrets here.

The Atlas of Emergency Medicine:

The Atlas of Emergency Medicine 5th ed

Okay now we’re getting to the point where I’m just talking to my peers who are highly considering going to emergency medicine as a future career.

This book is for you.

The Atlas of Emergency Medicine was the textbook my school recommended and seems to have some great reviews on it!

It’s filled with amazing images and illustrations to really help you nail down your understanding of emergency medicine.

So if you’re going to need to invest a textbook and want up-to-date information (which is important in EM) then be sure to check out this resource!

Check out The Atlas Of Emergency Medicine here. 

Top Online Resources For Emergency Medicine:

Life In The Fast Lane:

This is the blog of all blogs in my opinion. Even if you don’t go to Emergency Medicine, you’ll likely visit lifeinthefastlane a few times in your life.

First, the reason I loved using it – learning EKGs.

This is such a crucial skill to learn in medicine and definitely in the ER and Life In The Fast Lane makes it easy. They provide detail explanations, pictures, and even quizzes so you can test your knowledge.

It’s perfect for anyone trying to freshen up (or newly learn) their EKG skills.

But there’s so much more to Life In The Fast Lane than EKGs. You can also learn ultrasound, toxicology, and practice your hand at interesting clinical cases for the ER.

If you don’t already have enough in your bookmark tab of your browser – make sure to add  Life In The Fast Lane as well.

Emergency Clerkship Primer: 

If you want to succeed on your emergency medicine rotation and wish that there was just a manual on how to do well – the Emergency Clerkship Primer from UC Denver is it.

In fact, the title literally has “manual for medical students” in the name!

This beast of a PDF (108 pages) has everything you’ll need to familiarize yourself with the Emergency Medicine clerkship.

It includes:

  • How to get yourself oriented during your first day
  • How to be an effective medical student
  • How to approach diagnosing in the ER
  • The appropriate way to do oral presentations
  • How to make the most out of our rotation
  • And so much more…

I told you it was a beast.

In fact (aside from this guide) there’s not much more you need on understanding how to do well on your EM rotation.

You can get the free PDF of the Emergency Medicine Primer here.

EMRA Guide To Patient Presentations:

Patient presentations are unique and important for an efficient flow in the ER. Students new to this environment will struggle if they are not prepared.

So in order to do well on your oral presentations – check out the following EMRA resources.

The 3-Minute Patient Presentation

This PDF is a quick and easy to read journal article from EMRA breaking down the essentials of a great presentation.

Not only does it tell you what to do on your EM oral presentations – it teaches you how to think like an EM attending which is important.

A quick read and helpful for anyone about to start their rotation soon!

Find the 3-minute Emergency Medicine Student Presentation here.

Not a fan of reading articles about patient presentation? Maybe I should have started with the video version of it then.

You can get the same information in this video by EMRA on the 3-minute patient presentation.

The Short Coat:

This was a really fun resource to add for my friends who love reading everything about EM.

Short Coats in EM is written by a now practicing ER doctor who first started blogging to capture her initial experiences in the field.

These blog posts are quick breakdowns of important studies and how they apply to our patient, but they also just focus on teaching the reader something through cases or mini-lessons.

I’d encourage you to take a look at this great informative site focused on Free Open Access Medicine (FOAM).

Here’s a link to The Short Coat.

M4 Curriculum: 

This is the resource my school provided as a reference to learn everything I could for the rotation.

Overall the resource is quite comprehensive and has the nuts and bolts of what you’ll be needing to know.

Here’s a screenshot of all the topics you’ll be able to learn about.

M4 Curriculum

One great way I used the resource is to have a tab open on my phone during my shift. Then I’d quickly read about a topic when I’d see a patient on the board with the condition.

Often I would offer to see that patient first and practice what I just learned. It’s also a great way to look impressive in front of your attendings!

Top Podcasts For The Emergency Medicine Rotation:

EM Clerkship Podcast:

I love podcasts and if you do too then you’ll love EM Clerkship.

This is a podcast put together by Zack Olson and EM resident in Nashville who gives spot on tips and breakdowns on important topics for your rotation.

He’s a great teacher and his dedicatation to help out students (like me) clearly shows in each episode.

Even if you’re not going into the field, I have no doubt that Zack can blow you away by his teaching about emergency medicine.

Check out the podcast and website here. 

How To Quickly Master EKG’s For Your EM Rotation:

Once again I’ll point out – EKG’s are important to master for your emergency medicine rotation.

To make sure you grasp the essentials of EKGs check out the following two books I loved using.

Check out this article for other popular and recommended books that you can use to learn all about EKGs.

Preparing For Procedures For Your EM Rotation:

The Vocal Cord: Procedure List

This is a great go to resource for any procedure you may have to do as a medical student on your rotation.

I was able to do a paracentesis on my selective rotation and I know many of my classmates were able to put in IVs and stitches.

So make sure you’re prepared especially if there is something particular you’re wanting to do.

You can check out the procedure list here.

5 Min Sono:

Ultrasounds are just becoming more and more popular in the medical school curriculum.

So to get a headstart, check out 5 Min Sono to receive some great videos and posts on how to perform different exams.

I enjoyed the videos which are broken down by different system groups and common diseases you may be looking for.

Check out the 5-minute Sono videos here. 

What You Need In Your White Coat For Emergency Medicine:


Technically this is your phone, which is in your white coat – but you get the point.

On your emergency medicine rotation, you will have to do some number crunching quite often.

But in addition to looking up dosages, you’ll mainly be using MD Calc for it’s screening calculators and criterias. (Well’s Score, PERC, TIMI, etc.)

You will look like a pro if you can spit out the TIMI score of a patient during your presentation, so keep MDCalc on your phone.

You can download the app for IOS and Android. You can also check out the website here. 

EMRA Antibiotic Guide:

EMRA Antibiotic Guide 20th ed

If you hate memorizing antibiotics (most of us) then you will love the Antibiotic guide from the EMRA.

EM Residents love this guide and many recommended that I grab a copy for myself. (You can find it here).

It’s extremely helpful and efficient in identifying the antibiotic your patient would need. Plus it’s only 112 pages, which means it nicely fits inside your white coat pocked!

Just a few of the reviews I noted on Amazon:

    • “I would highly recommend this book to any student rotating in the ER”
    • “EMRA is like the antibiotic bible for any clinician working in the emergency department.”
    • “Must have for anyone in medical practice.”
    • “Never disappointed with this ED-oriented antibiotic guide… every ER doc should have a current one of these!”

So if you hate trying to memorize which cephalasphorin to give – grab a copy of EMRA Antibiotic guide.

You can grab a copy here.

Pocket Emergency Medicine:

Pocket Emergency Medicine 5th ed

I loved using Pocket Medicine for internal medicine, and the EM version is just as good.

If you’re unfamiliar with the Pocket Medicine series, they are amazing reference guides which fit in your white coat for anything you’d need.

The EM edition comes highly recommended by many of my ED residents – especially if you’re planning on going into the field.

As a bonus tip I’d like to share my Pocket Medicine method which I used on my internal medicine rotation.

Pocket Medicine Method:

Whenever you have a new patient – read about their main condition in Pocket Medicine.

It doesn’t matter if you’ve seen the diagnosis multiple times or if it’s your first encounter – read the 1-2 page section in Pocket Medicine.

The reason this method is so effective is that each iteration helps you pick up on something new or solidifies your learning.

So regardless if it’s your 10th asthma case of the week, take a minute and skim the Pocket Medicine section. You’ll begin to not only pick up on the basic management, but also advanced tests and alternative treatment options.

Over just a few short weeks, you’ll become a pro at managing some of the most common chief complaints that would come through the ED.

Give this method a try and let me know what you think.

You can grab a copy of Pocket Emergency Medicine here. 

ACLS Reference Guides:

ACLS (Advanced Cardiac Life Support) SURVIVAL CARD Quick Reference Study Guide - 4 card set (Small 3 x 4 3/8 in., Badge/ID Size, Hangs with Badge)Latest Updates-Laminated-Hole Punched-Water Resistant

I’m a big fan of having high-yield tools which can fit in my white coat. Another gem that I found are these ACLS reference guides.

Codes and arrythmias are all too common in the ED and you should feel comfortable managing them.

These ACLS guides were the best price for the value. You can check it out here. 

If you want a cheaper option, I recommend these medication badge cards. They nicely breakdown the go to medication for all the major arrythmias you’ll likely see.

Quick ACLS Card (2020 ACLS Guidelines) AHA ACLS Badge Buddy Reference Card 2015 with 2020 updates

Check the ACLS badge card here. 

We covered a ton of resources for the emergency medicine rotation. But now you’ll be able to just crush your emergency medicine clerkship and get that coveted honors.

If you enjoyed this post then you may enjoy the following as well!

If you want even more help on your rotations, then check out my book The Clinical Guide. In this book I teach you to not only survive on your rotations – but how to crush them!

The Clinical Guide

Learn more about the book here.

Whenever you’re ready, there are 4 ways I can help you:

1. The Med School Handbook:  Join thousands of other students who have taken advantage of the hundreds of FREE tips & strategies I wish I were given on the first day of medical school to crush it with less stress. 

2. The Med School BlueprintJoin the hundreds of students who have used our A-Z blueprint and playbook for EVERY phase of the medical journey so you can start to see grades like these. 

3. Med Ignite Study ProgramGet personalized help to create the perfect study system for yourself so you can see better grades ASAP on your medical journey & see results like these. 

4. Learn the one study strategy that saved my grades in medical school here (viewed by more than a million students like you). 

But that’s it for this post! Hope you found it helpful!

Until next time my friend…

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