An Electronic Resource Guide to the EM Clerkship

Image Credit: Pixabay

Author: Stephanie Cihlar
AAEM/RSA Medical Student Council President (2016-2017)

Smartphones and tablets have changed the way we practice medicine. They help us make informed medical decisions and offer a practical way to keep us up to date on the latest research. Apps and podcasts are increasingly popular tools used to help us achieve these goals, both inside and outside of the ED. For students striving to do well in EM clerkships, the ability to stay organized and access to the right resources is critical for success. However, in this rapidly changing world of medical apps, podcasts, and seemingly endless amounts of available information, it can be difficult to know where to begin. After evaluating some popular EM resources, I developed this guide of apps and podcasts to help students ensure success in their EM clerkships.

EMRA Basics – Students from another medical school first recommended this to me and as soon as I downloaded the free app I was blown away with how helpful it is. The app opens with a list of common chief complaints. Clicking any one then provides useful information on important aspects of the history, differential, pertinent algorithms and criteria, documentation, and treatment. If used as a quick reference while on shift, this app is sure to help you shine on your EM clerkships and away rotations.

Journal Club – An internal medicine attending recommended this app to me and it has proved to be very valuable throughout most of my clerkships. Journal Club is a physician-maintained app that summarizes and breaks down landmark trials in a wide-variety of specialties. While EM articles make up a small section of the app, it is modestly priced and very useful for many clerkships, especially for critical care and internal medicine.

PreTest Emergency Medicine – The app version of the popular text offers a 500 question Q-bank. It is a valuable tool for exam prep with the added benefit of avoiding the bulkiness of a textbook. Download the free version to try out the interface and sample questions prior to purchasing for $29.99.

AAEM Tox Handbook – This newly released app from the AAEM Young Physicians Section offers an easily accessible reference of common toxicological emergencies and their management. The app content was authored primarily by toxicologists and places special emphasis on “tricks of the trade” that you will not find in other resources. The Tox Handbook app is especially useful for those with a particular interest in toxicology.


EM Basic – Created and hosted by Steve Carroll, EM Basic is a must-listen for students starting their EM clerkship. The podcasts break down broad chief complaints into key components of the history, physical, basic workup, and treatment. I found this podcast extremely helpful. And it’s free! Be sure to check out the episode, “How to Give a Good EM Presentation” before jumping into your first shift.

EM:RAP – This well-known podcast is geared more towards residents, but is still an engaging and worthwhile listen for students familiar with the basics of EM. EM:RAP offers a wide breadth of content and is especially useful for staying up-to-date on the latest developments in the field. Normally $95/year, this app is completely free with your AAEM/RSA membership!

AAEM/RSA Medical Student Council Podcast Series
– This newly-released series features leaders from emergency medicine residency programs across the country speaking on topics essential to medical students with the goal of helping student land the residency of their choice! Get the inside scoop on how to excel during your EM clerkship, how to match into EM, and more. Visit or download from iTunes®.

As medical education continues to be supplemented with useful and informative electronic resources, don’t be left in the dust. Check out these apps and podcasts, and rock your EM clerkships this year!