Young Emergency Physicians Make Their Mark in Europe

Published on June 26, 2014
EM trainees organized under the EuSEM banner set aside national goals in favor of a united vision of European emergency medicine.

A participant practices ultrasound technique at a recent YEMD course in Ljubljana, Slovenia.


Despite its standing as a relatively new specialty in Europe, some enterprising trainees in emergency medicine have envisioned the potential of a group to represent their colleagues in European EM regulatory bodies. With the hopes of achieving such, the Young Emergency Medicine Doctors section (YEMD) was formed as part of the European Society for Emergency Medicine (EuSEM) in 2011.

In many European countries there is a vast need for more structured EM education and the YEMD is organizing courses for EM trainees. These ‘Refresher Courses’ are aimed at standardizing practice across the continent. The first courses organized in Berlin (Germany) and Turku (Finland) and a course on ultra-sound in Ljubljana (Slovenia) were a great success. Croatia is next on our list and even cooperation with the Middle East could be a possibility. Having participants from all over Europe and beyond gives the course great educational value while creating a unique environment that makes it possible to learn the variability of health care organization from country to country. The ultimate goal is to define a fixed standard of accredited EuSEM courses which will travel around Europe.

While we are mindful of the need to keep our courses as low-priced as possible, this can be prohibitive in expanding them. Receiving large amounts of sponsorship from industry has never been part of EuSEM’s culture.

Ideally, we would like to set up a European exchange program between EM residents, but this is very difficult to impose from a practical and legislative standpoint. Working conditions vary widely in Europe. Obtaining the requisite insurance for each country is just one of the logistical barriers.

The US resident associations have existed much longer than the YEMD, and they represent a model to be followed. Admittedly, a single language and government make it much easier to organize and collaborate. Europe’s complexities add to the obstacles and EM is still far away from being accepted as a full specialty in many countries.

The Young Emergency Medicine Doctors section (YEMD) was formed as part of the European Society for Emergency Medicine in 2011.

While we fully recognize the difficulties in attempting to recreate the US model in Europe, we can make our mark in other ways. At EuSEM, it has been beneficial to have separate tracks for trainees and young doctors. This creates opportunities to mix and mingle between residents, young doctors, and experts in the field.

It is also important to keep a tight bond with our younger colleagues who have not yet graduated. We fully support and endorse the newly founded International Student Association for Emergency Medicine (www.isaem.net). This organization comprises a group of extremely enthusiastic students who are interested in pursuing a career in emergency medicine.

It is certainly a victory that YEMD is represented in most European EM bodies. We are, however, frequently lacking the money and time required to achieve all the goals we pursue. It is also not easy to find enthusiastic people who are willing to engage them. As is the case with most organizations, it is easier to find people willing to verbally endorse ideas than it is to find those that are eager to tangibly help reach your goals.

We therefore plead for a stronger support of the future leaders in emergency medicine. Envisioning the future and achieving goals can bring European EM to the next level. It is vital that we set aside our nationalism and unite behind a European vision. We need to continue along the path we have started. We have set the first steps and are hopeful for what lies ahead.

If you wish to contact the EuSEM Young Doctors please send an email to yemdsection@gmail.com

Dr. Pieter Jan Van Asbroeck is the chair of EuSEM's Young EM Doctors section.

This article originally appeared in Issue 13 of Emergency Physicians International.

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