Current postgraduate training in emergency medicine in the Nordic countries

Hjalti Már Björnsson, Lars Petter Bjørnsen, Christian Baaner Skjærbæk, Katrin Hruska, Ari Palomäki, Nordic EM Study Group

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Background: Emergency Medicine (EM) is an independent specialty in all five Nordic countries. This study aims to evaluate the structure of post-graduate EM training in the area. Methods: A leading hospital or hospitals in EM training in each country were identified. An e-survey was sent to each hospital to gather data on patient volume and physician staffing, curriculum, trainee supervision, and monitoring of progression in training. Results: Data were collected from one center in Iceland and Norway, two in Finland and Sweden, and four centers in Denmark. The data from each country in Denmark, Finland, and Sweden, were pooled to represent that country. The percentage of consultants with EM specialist recognition ranged from 49–100% of all consultants working in the participating departments. The number of patients seen annually per each full time EM consultant was almost three times higher in Finland than in Sweden. In Iceland, Denmark, and Sweden a consultant was present 24/7 in the ED but not in all centers in the other countries. The level of trainee autonomy in clinical practice varied between countries. Requirements for completing standardized courses, completing final exams, scientific and quality improvement projects, and evaluation of trainee progression, varied between the countries. Conclusions: All Nordic countries have established EM training programs. Despite cultural similarities, there are significant differences in how the EM training is structured between the countries. Writing and implementing a standardized training curriculum and assessment system for EM training in the Nordic countries should be considered.

Original languageEnglish
Article number469
Number of pages7
JournalBmc Medical Education
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Emergency medicine
  • Nordic countries
  • Post-graduate medical education

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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