Having found one's passion in the field of emergency medicine, the next question is inevitable: "What is the right emergency medicine residency program for me?" I am excited for you as you embark on your search for that perfect program, and I welcome the opportunity to tell you about the many features that combine to make Carolinas Medical Center an outstanding place to hone your skills as an emergency physician.
Sandy Craig, MD
- We are an 874-bed hospital and regional Level 1 Trauma center whose emergency department sees more than 115,000 patients annually, including 30,000 in our children's emergency department. Levine Children's Hospital is housed within the main hospital. There is no need to travel to other institutions in order to bolster your educational experience; didactic conferences are always a few steps away.
- Carolinas Medical Center is the flagship of Carolinas HealthCare System, one of the largest public, nonprofit healthcare systems in the US, with more than 30 affiliated hospitals referring their most interesting and challenging cases for definitive care. CMC serves as the safety net for the community and welcomes “all comers” from the Charlotte area.
- Educational conferences are provided daily for one hour, allowing time for residents to gather every day to share lunch and a digestible dose of high quality didactics. Lecture based learning is supplemented by online multimedia offerings and monthly experience at the Carolinas Simulation Center.
- Emergency medicine residents work side by side with leaders in the field. Walking the halls you will enjoy the open door policy of past and current presidents of SAEM and ACEP, recipients of NIH grants and ACEP speakers. Drop by our offices and take in the knowledge and experience of contributors and editors-in-chief of peer reviewed journals and textbooks such as Rosen’s Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice, Pediatric Emergency Medicine and Barkin’s Textbook of Pediatric Emergency Medicine. CMC faculty occupy key roles across the institution, including Medical Director of the Medical Intensive Care Unit, Medical Director of the Carolinas Poison Center and Medical Director of the Center for Prehospital Medicine and the Mecklenburg EMS Agency (MEDIC). Interdepartmental initiatives such as Code Cool, Code Sepsis, and Code STEMI, instituted under the expert guidance of EM faculty, have improved patient outcomes and decreased mortality in these key areas.
- Your residency experience should teach you to combat nationwide challenges such as ED overcrowding through innovative approaches to clinical operations. Implementation of LEAN methodology at CMC has resulted in dramatic improvements in key metrics such as time to triage, time to first physician contact, and length of stay of stable admitted patients. An express admission protocol for ICU patients assures that the sickest patients move promptly to the unit after emergency interventions are complete.
- Your residency should provide a rich EMS experience. During their ED rotations PGY2 and PGY3 residents routinely provide online medical control for the county EMS system (MEDIC). The Center for Prehospital Medicine welcomes those with a passion for teaching at the EMT-basic and EMT-Paramedic level. In addition to a dedicated month riding with MEDIC, voluntary participation in aviation medicine is offered via MedCenter Air, operating four helicopter and four fixed wing aircraft stationed at three operational bases across the state. In the event of natural disasters and mass casualty events, Carolinas MED-1 is a one-of-a-kind mobile intensive care treatment facility and field hospital that can deploy with faculty and resident emergency physicians within hours to areas where local medical resources are obliterated or overburdened.
- You will want extensive experience in bedside ultrasound. Our emergency department has five ultrasound machines that are in continual use. All have extensive doppler and digital capability. The annual volume of emergency ultrasounds performed has grown each year to an ultrasound procedure census of 6000 per year. Attending physicians are credentialed and a quality assurance program audits every ultrasound that is performed and provides feedback. Ultrasound is used extensively for resuscitation (both medical and traumatic), pregnancy, abdominal evaluation, cardiovascular evaluation, soft-tissue, musculoskeletal, ocular, and for procedural guidance. Our ultrasound machines wirelessly transmit digital images and videos to our QA software and management system.
- Are you interested in research? Our research division supports active programs in both laboratory and clinical research. Faculty researchers facilitate intradepartmental, interdepartmental and multicenter clinical studies on various topics with a special emphasis on pulmonary embolism and sepsis. The department enjoys NIH funding for projects related to the diagnosis and treatment of pulmonary embolism, sepsis and acute coronary syndrome. Other departmental research topics include: stroke/TIA, ischemic heart disease, ultrasound, and toxicology. Rapid diagnostic modalities of acute and critical conditions are a particular focus of emergency medicine research at CMC. Emergency medicine faculty participate as members of the Institutional Review Board, the IACUC, and the institutional Research Review Committee and act as mentors for resident research endeavors.
- Your emergency medicine residency program should provide a strong background in the evaluation and treatment of toxicologic emergencies. At CMC, three board certified emergency physician toxicologists provide a dedicated one month rotation in addition to numerous noon conference lectures on various aspects of toxicology. The Carolinas Poison Center, directed by Dr. Marsha Ford, is currently one of 60 poison centers in the United States and is certified by the American Association of Poison Control Centers.
After doing your research and visiting your favorite programs you will undoubtedly choose the program where you feel most at home. I'm often asked what the single best feature of our program is. Simply said, it is the feeling of camaraderie between resident and attending physicians. Residency training is necessarily rigorous. Wouldn't you like to experience it as part of a family? We look forward to welcoming you into our home.
Sandy Craig, MD
Program Director, Carolinas Medical Center