How I E-Learn E-M

via flickr's 8bitjoystick

Yes, dorks, I’m back, and with a “Now, More Nerdy Than Ever!” post.

So I’ve realized recently that a lot of people don’t know about all the ways you can learn a ton of emergency medicine online, for free. I really enjoy learning this way, partially because there’s so many different ways to learn online that it keeps it from getting too boring, and keeps you keeping on. We’ll start with the quickest bites of knowledge, via email.

The University of Maryland Emergency Medicine Residency puts out little pearls every day, but did you know you can get them sent to you via email? Sign-up here, and you’ll  get a little bit of knowledge every day in your inbox. (I can’t count the number of times I read one of these and within a week I’m searching my inbox to remember what exactly it said. Always pertinent and always good.)

Next up: the blogs. I’ve previously listed my favorites, but I’m going to highlight the most high-yield educational ones that I love:

  • Top of that list would be Life in the Fast Lane, which literally posts so much content I can’t keep up. Take the Antidote Challenge, for example, which lists a ton of poisons and you have to go through and remember all the antidotes. High-yield, fast, great learning. I don’t know how they post so much.
  • I really like the Emergency Medicine Forum. The poster summarizes a recent case she had, what the pitfalls and critical actions of the case were in her opinion, how she managed the case, with some references at the end.
  • My Emergency Medicine Blog is kind of like the UMEM Pearls. The author takes something he learned from his shift and posts it to the blog with a reference. “Name the 4 indications for non-medical management of a Stanford B dissection,” for example.
  • I can’t leave out my friend Michelle Lin’s Paucis Verbis cards. An index card summarizing what she thinks she needs to know about any number of problems in Emergency Medicine. You can’t get more high-yield.

How do I read all my blogs, by the way? I use Google Reader. It allows you to subscribe to RSS feeds of blogs (and journals and newspapers, and anything else that offers an RSS feed) so you can read all the content in one place. (An RSS feed is a way that sites can share their content with you without you having to visit their website.)

Next up: Podcasts/Videos.

  • EMRAP is probably the most well-known (and is free for EMRA members!). But did you know there’s also a totally free video podcast version at The Mel Herbert Empire also includes some free lectures from the All LA Conference and others.
  • The EMCrit Podcast is both awesome and free, and I’ve learned a ton from it. (And Scott Weingart also posts here. So it must be good, right?) And a secret tip: if you search Google for pages on emcrit (type “” and then your search criteria, you’re bound to find something useful. For example, I found the “PAILS” mnemonic for reciprocal changes on this page.
  • I’ve also just recently started listening to Keeping Up in Emergency Medicine, by the Vanderbilt EM gurus. It’s a quick, 30-minute podcast summarizing EM-relevant journal articles where Clay Smith and Jim Fiechtl give criticism and a summary of the findings.
  • Secret tip: You can watch live USC Grand Rounds on Thursday mornings (California time) as well.
  • Hennepin County EM has a bunch of great ultrasound and procedure videos on their YouTube channel.
  • Run out of Hemocult developer? Need to irrigate someone’s eyes and don’t have a Morgan lens? Procedurettes by my absolutely fantastic attending Whit Fisher will save your butt every time.

Finally, Journal Articles. This only kinda-counts, but here’s a bunch of great online resources:

  • EBMedicine. Insanely great, evidence-based diagnostic and management summaries on almost every EM topic by now.
  • I heart The Emergency Medicine Clinics of North America. Shorter than EBMedicine but provide a great overview of many topics, and each issue focuses on a certain theme. You can access them as well if you’re a member of mdconsult.
  • ACEP also provides its Critical Decisions in Emergency Medicine series, which are probably the shortest of all these options, but pretty good as well.

So, you’re asking yourself, how do I keep track of all of this? A private blog, of course. Whenever I read a good article or find something useful that I don’t want to forget, I summarize everything on the private blog and link or upload the PDF of the article I read it in. This way, I can always have access to the information as long as I have an internet connection. If I tried to store it all away in a notebook, it’d either get lost, fall apart, or I’d just forget it at home and be none the wiser.

(And one final tip, you can now save PDFs that you’re viewing with Google’s PDF reader to your Google Docs account.)

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  1. #1 by Mike cadogan - June 1st, 2010 at 18:17

    Great list
    Have to agree that there are so many fantastic resources being developed for the EM community – it is hard to keep up sometimes, so always good to get an overview refresher to ensure I have not missed any.
    I must say that Feedly is a my favorite way to view the RSS feeds and tweet links. Now that it is stable in Safari, it works really well on iPad.
    Thanks again for a comprehensive update on EM resources.

  2. #2 by Chris Nickson - June 1st, 2010 at 19:42

    Nice one Graham,
    Cheers for the generous endorsement of LitFL.
    Free, fun, high-yield learning – just about sums up everything we aim to be.

  3. #3 by Margie Teng - August 3rd, 2010 at 14:25

    Another neat trick – there is a plug-in for Firefox called “DownThemAll” that let’s you automate your downloads from a single page. I used it to rapidly download multiple articles from the EM Clinics of NA, since I only have web access at this time

  4. #4 by David - September 15th, 2010 at 03:27

    Since you mentioned Google docs PDF viewer… I recently discovered an indispensable tool for my “online office” –

    With a free registration it not only saves your PDF files but you can also highlight them and annotate and save these. The catch? Well, imagine all those articles and clinical guidelines you have in PDF format you want to read thoroughly, highlight and save to later review by quick-reading the highlights. Well this is it!

    I use Google docs almost daily but the highlighting feature is crucial for me to keep my journal collection paperless. Until G-docs adds this feature, Crocodocs is my primary tool.

  5. #5 by David - September 15th, 2010 at 03:37

    Opps that should have been

    (not the s!)

  6. #6 by Richard Roof - June 4th, 2019 at 10:43

    You are not at all nerdy – Richard Roof

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