Emergency medicine

The Geisinger Medical Center Emergency Department has 45 beds, including a five-bed Fast Track area as well as a three-bed resuscitation bay. The resuscitation bay incorporates plain film radiology and is immediately adjacent to the Radiology Department and the latest generation CT scanners. The emergency department located on the Danville campus is accredited by:

  • The Pennsylvania Trauma Systems Foundation as an Adult Level I and Pediatric Level II Trauma Center   
  • Joint Commission as a Primary Stroke Center
  • The Society of Chest Pain Centers as an Accredited Chest Pain Center and Level I Heart Attack Program; at Geisinger, 90% of heart attack patients are treated with primary PCI within 90 minutes (national average is 55%).

Our elective is associated with one of the most established EM residency programs in the country. Founded in 1976, the program is a three-year program with nine allopathic or osteopathic residents per year. There are 12 full-time staff physicians, three of whom have been with the program from the very beginning, contributing their years of knowledge and experience to both residents and medical students alike.

Students are expected to attend the educational conferences associated with the emergency medicine residency program. This includes one hour of asynchronous learning as well as four hours of didactic education on Tuesday mornings from 8 a.m. to noon. In addition, students are encouraged to attend the two hours of trauma conference held monthly.

Goals & objectives

  • Develop efficiency and focus in the assessment of common emergency medicine chief complaints, including but not limited to abdominal pain, altered mental status, chest pain, headache, nausea/vomiting, overdose, shock, shortness of breath, and trauma   
  • Formulate basic differential diagnoses, including the most serious or life-threatening conditions, the most common etiologies, and the most likely diagnosis for common chief complaints and presentations in the emergency department   
  • Become proficient in the presentation of the emergency department H&P, including recognizing the important elements of the case and developing conciseness   
  • Participate in the care of critically ill/unstable patients, both medical and traumatic, including airway management, arrhythmia recognition and management, central line placement, appropriate vasopressor selection, and lumbar punctures   
  • Improve confidence in formulating basic treatment plans, including lab and imaging work-up, medications, and ultimate dispositions for emergency department patients   
  • Provide compassionate care of patients
  • Practice interpersonal and communication skills with patients, consultants, and primary care physicians   
  • Exhibit professionalism in all aspects of the rotation, including timeliness, honest, integrity, accountability, and cultural sensitivity
  • Be proactive in learning, with independent reading of material pertinent not only to patients in the emergency department but also for common EM chief complaints (e.g., chest pain, dyspnea, abdominal pain, fever, headache)   

Patient care

  • Students are teamed with an upper level resident and are expected to carry about three patients at a time, seeing a variety of patients each shift. To glean the greatest educational benefit, medical students should check with the resident prior to picking up a patient off the list.
  • Expectations include initial assessment (history and physical), presentation of the case to the attending physician, aiding in the management of the patient during the ancillary work-up, and an active role in deciding the ultimate disposition for the patient.
    • During the initial encounter, if the student feels that the patient is critically ill or if there is a sense that “something isn’t right,” the medical student should immediately find an attending or resident physician for assistance.
    • Rectal and pelvic examinations should not be initiated before discussing the case with the supervising physician and must always be chaperoned.
    • Medical students are not permitted to perform procedures or dispense medications to any patient without the supervision of a resident or staff physician.  
  • While students are limited in the charting that they are able to do, this should not preclude them from being actively involved in all aspects of patient care.
  • Students will complete both the patient logs and the procedure logs for each shift. 


Apply now

Acceptance into the elective is by application only.

All applications must be submitted through the Visiting Student Application Service (VSAS).

Contact us

Megan Longenberger
Clerkship Coordinator