Learn. Grow. Lead.
At the University of Wisconsin Emergency Medicine Residency, our approach to education and training is designed to provide you with the benefits of a four-year training program in a three-year package.
Graduate medical education is conducted through UW Health, the prestigious academic medical center and health system for the University of Wisconsin.
Residents also benefit from world-class faculty educators and resources at the UW's School of Medicine and Public Health, the first higher education institution in the nation to combine medical and public health training.
Beyond outstanding, cutting-edge training in Emergency Medicine, our residency program offers robust opportunities to develop your niche, move the specialty forward through scholarship, as well as hands-on experience with leadership that will launch you into an amazing and successful career in Emergency Medicine. With UW recognized as an international leader in education, research and service, you will have the opportunities, resources, and support to discover how your impact can uniquely advance healthcare.
Our culture of mentorship and providing regular, constructive feedback means that whatever career pathway you pursue, at the University of Wisconsin Emergency Medicine Residency, you will have daily opportunities to learn, grow, and lead.
>> Clinical Rotations
PGY1 year focuses on developing the foundational knowledge that is essential to providing excellent emergency care. Intern year consists of six blocks in the UW emergency department where patients are staffed directly with EM attendings, as well as interspersed experiences on trauma, cardiology, anesthesia, and the medical ICU to solidify the fundamentals of specialty care in these areas. PGY1 residents also complete a dedicated ultrasound training month, during which they receive 1-to-1 bedside ultrasound teaching from fellowship-trained ultrasound faculty.
PGY2 year focuses on implementing core knowledge from year one as residents assume leadership roles in complex resuscitations and increase their procedural skills and overall efficiency. Residents also begin exploring career pathways through their first elective rotation.
PGY3 year focuses on further developing leadership and management skills during capstone experiences including Pre-Attending and EM Trauma Chief roles.
Each year is scheduled in blocks, each four weeks long. There are three weeks of vacation allotted during each academic year that are taken as one week blocks. Explore a sample block schedule (PDF)
>> Elective Rotations
Residents complete one elective block during each of the PGY2 and PGY3 years focusing on a particular area of interest. Residents may choose from well-established electives (EMS, global health, Med Flight, teaching, ultrasound) or submit a proposal for a novel elective experience (advocacy, social EM, anesthesia, burn, critical care, disaster medicine, palliative care, radiology, sports medicine, etc).
Orientation: 1 block
Emergency Medicine: 5 blocks
Pediatric EM: 1 dedicated block
EM Ultrasound: 1 block
Trauma: 1 block
CCU: 1 block
ICU: 1 block
PICU: 1 block
OB: 1 block
Ortho/ED: 1 block
Emergency Medicine: 4 blocks
SICU: 1 block
ICU: 1 block
Trauma: 1 block
Pediatric EM: 1 dedicated block
VA ED: 1 block
Community ED: 1 block
Elective: 1 block
Peds Anesthesia/ED: 1 block
Emergency Medicine: 2 blocks
Trauma Chief/EM: 9 blocks
Pre-Attending/EM: 4 blocks
Admin/EMS: 1 block
Elective: 1 block
Residents are excused from clinical duties on most rotations every Thursday morning to attend 5 hours of educational programming. Lectures and workshops are conducted by emergency medicine faculty and visiting faculty experts from all corners of the country. Our curriculum includes joint lectures with other UW training programs (e.g. pharmacy, surgery, pediatrics, and radiology), as well as tailored teaching sessions for each PGY level.
>> Conference Highlights
Foundations of Emergency Medicine
Small group, case based sessions using the nationally-recognized Foundations curriculum are a critical piece of our didactic conference, allowing residents to practice the essential management points of high-yield emergency medicine cases.
Ask the Expert
Experts from consulting specialties discuss focused clinical management as it relates to the emergency medicine physician. These resident-led sessions focus primarily on questions submitted by our EM residents.
Residents benefit from the experience that comes with simulating the most challenging clinical cases during RESUS (REsuscitation, Simulations, Ultrasound, and Skills) conferences in our state-of-the-art simulation center. These monthly sessions give residents ample opportunity to hone their clinical, communication, and team leadership skills.
Trauma and Critical Care
These EM-led conferences benefit from our strong connections with Med Flight and EMS, as well as our EM/Critical Care trained faculty, and focus on providing a front-line perspective from the first contact in the field through the stabilization in the ED and in the intensive care unit.
Expert guest EM leaders discuss state-of-the-art research, clinical initiatives, healthcare delivery practices, diversity and inclusion efforts, and provide comprehensive reviews of hot topics in the field of emergency medicine.
Having a successful career in emergency medicine involves much more than just great clinical skills. This series explores money management, physician wellness, teaching on-shift and more.
The University of Wisconsin Department of Emergency Medicine aims to provide remarkable care to a diverse and growing patient population. Our combined emergency departments care for over 100,000 patients annually, and our clinical department at University Hospital, the academic medical center for UW Health and the University of Wisconsin — the top-ranked hospital system in the state — is the only ACS-certified adult and pediatric Level 1 trauma and burn center in south-central Wisconsin.
In partnership with UW Health Med Flight, our internationally recognized air and ground critical care transport and retrieval service that has served the upper Midwest for over 35 years, we receive critically ill and injured adult, pediatric and neonatal patients from across Wisconsin, eastern Iowa, and northern Illinois. We are the only air medical service in the country to transport with a licensed physician routinely on board.
Residents spend most of their training at University Hospital, a well-supported, innovative, high acuity setting, and manage the full spectrum of emergent patient presentations. ED shifts are spent working with experienced faculty, many of them fellowship-trained, who are engaged and passionate educators, as well as a dedicated care team of advanced practice providers, nurses, technicians, social workers, pharmacists, respiratory therapists, case managers, and care coordinators who are deeply committed to supporting the residency program.
Our goal is for residents to develop the capacity to provide efficient, knowledgeable medical care to patients while assuming greater supervisory and care team leadership responsibilities as they progress through training.
>> Training Highlights
Three dedicated trauma bays at University Hospital bustle near-constantly with activity, as EMS and Med Flight bring in critically injured trauma patients from across the region.
As the primary trauma referral center for the area, our residents see the sickest of the sick and learn to function seamlessly as a team with surgery, anesthesia, orthopedics, vascular and neurosurgery to rapidly intervene to prevent morbidity and mortality in all types of blunt and penetrating traumatic injury. Patient acuity is high as demonstrated by a 28.5% admission rate, with 21.3% of total admissions to the ICU or IMC.
Residents also spend time during their third year in a "trauma chief" role that offers the opportunity to directly lead cross-functional trauma teams and to develop confidence in directing resuscitations in critical cases.
The best possible care of patients cannot include extreme ED boarding, and UW Hospitals are fully committed and highly effective in minimizing ED boarding.
Given Madison’s excellent access to primary care and robust urgent care network, our EDs care for the highest acuity patients presenting along the full spectrum of illness and injury as part of an operationally efficient health system. Emergency Severity Index (ESI) 1, 2, and 3 patients dominate University Hospital emergency department patient visits, and our ED admission rate hovers around 30%, significantly higher than many academic emergency departments.
In partnership with UW Health Med Flight, we receive critically ill patients from across the region and frequently transport patients between facilities or from the scene of their accident or injury. Our ground ambulances transport patients of any age and are equipped as mobile ICU/NICU, and we operate busy air and ground Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) and organ donation transport programs. The opportunity to fly with Med Flight extends the clinical environment for interested residents out of the hospital setting completely.
Our pediatric ED cares for approximately 14,000 pediatric patients annually—many with high acuity—and is staffed by a knowledgeable, growing group of fellowship-trained Pediatric Emergency Medicine (PEM) faculty. A dedicated team of specialized pediatric nurses and respiratory therapists also staff pediatric ED alongside 24/7 child life, pharmacy and social work services, with the department having a strong, collaborative relationship with pediatric/neonatal critical care transport teams.
Residents can expect to undertake intensive PEM-dedicated months PGY1 and PGY2 years, as well as longitudinal experience during PGY2 and PGY3 years and during all overnight shifts. The Pediatric ED is staff by PEM faculty from 9 a.m. to 2 a.m.
A close partnership between our EM/Critical Care faculty and Thoracic Surgery has led to the development of our ED ECMO program.
One of very few centers in Wisconsin with ECMO capability, UW Health offers extracorporeal cardiopulmonary resuscitation (ECPR) to provide temporary life support by circulating blood and oxygen throughout the body when the heart is not strong enough to do it alone. We employ this advanced technology in partnership with local EMS agencies to care for the most critical instances of sudden cardiac arrest.
Learn more about our Division of Critical Care Medicine...
Our clinical learning environment is enriched by patients referred and transferred for the quaternary care provided at UW including complex burn care, neuroendovascular stroke intervention, transplant, pulmonary hypertension, VAD, TAVR, and CAR-T to name a few.
The Department of Emergency Medicine’s clinical and translational research enterprise is federally funded and focuses on health services and care transitions studies. Our faculty investigators are nationally recognized leaders in much of the research they conduct, yielding critical discoveries in areas such as dementia and emergency care for older adults, antimicrobial stewardship, and health disparities.
As an academic medical center, we are dedicated to developing the capacity for all residents to engage in scholarly work. We've created a robust research curriculum for trainees and offer a two-year research fellowship accredited by the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine (SAEM).
In addition, each resident is paired with a faculty mentor their first year to begin working on a scholarly project, which residents are required to present and/or publish by the time they graduate.
The Department of Emergency Medicine (DEM) is routinely identified as the point of care ultrasound experts at UW Health and the UW School of Medicine and Public Health, with other specialties modeling our operations. And beyond core ultrasound faculty, almost all DEM faculty have active ultrasound privileges.
We consider practical training in emergency clinical ultrasound to be among the foundational components of residency, so we invest in a strong ultrasound curriculum and incorporate this training into clinical care. We have seven clinical ultrasound machines, which help build ultrasound expertise instead of spending time searching for “the machine.” Every scan performed by residents is reviewed for QA purposes, and we have three high-fidelity simulators.
We also offer a competitive, accredited advanced emergency ultrasound fellowship designed to train newly graduated resident physicians to be expert sonographers as well as leaders in point-of-care ultrasound education, administration, research, and global health applications.
Training at World-class Institutions
UW Health is the sponsoring institution for our training programs and is a recognized national leader in numerous medical fields. UW Health is the integrated health system of the University of Wisconsin-Madison caring for more than 725,000 patients each year, comprised of seven hospitals, 1,849 employed physicians, 77 clinic locations and a partnership in a 365,000 member health plan. UW Health is governed by the UW Hospitals and Clinics Authority and partners with the UW School of Medicine and Public Health to fulfill its patient care, research, education and community service missions. Explore more facts & figures about UW Health.
Throughout their three years of residency, our physicians:
+ Manage complex, high acuity adult and pediatric cases at our flagship academic medical center
+ Gain experience leading care teams with significant autonomy at two community EDs
+ Care for our nation's military veterans at Madison's renowned five-star veterans hospital
+ Explore prehospital medicine through our EMS and Event Medicine partnerships and with our Med Flight critical care transport service
EXPLORE WHERE WE WORK >>
Our residents spend most of their time at the 505-bed University Hospital (UH), which is the flagship hospital for UW Health and the No. 1 hospital in Wisconsin for nine years running (U.S. News & World Report, 2020).
The BerbeeWalsh Emergency Department is an ACS-certified, Level 1 Adult and Pediatric Trauma and Burn Center that sees 60,000 patient visits annually and up to 225 patients per day.
Our residents staff the emergency department at UH throughout all three years of residency, where they also complete more specialized training through rotations in ultrasound, advanced airway management, simulation, and have significant exposure to critical care, resuscitation, trauma, and prehospital medicine.
University Hospital also hosts one of the nation's largest organ transplant programs, one of the nation's first certified comprehensive stroke centers and the UW Carbone Cancer Center, one of 41 National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive centers in the country.
American Family Children's Hospital
The American Family Children’s Hospital (AFCH) is a nationally-ranked, 111-bed facility with pediatric and neonatal surgical intensive care units.
At our 11-bed Pediatric Emergency Department, our pediatric-trained experts are focused 100 percent on kids. This means our doctors are specially trained to recognize kid-specific clues other doctors might miss and to interact with kids and families in ways that best suit their needs.
Being part of the American Family Children's Hospital, we are a Level I pediatric trauma and burn center and have an active pediatric critical care transport team, as well as a collaborative relationship with the PICU and NICU.
Our residents work directly with fellowship-trained PEM physicians and a team of pediatric emergency nurses and child life specialists to treat children with emergent medical needs. Alongside rotations with the pediatric ICU and anesthesia, our curriculum is well-rounded to prepare residents for any pediatric emergency.
Residents have the opportunity to do ride-alongs with the Children’s Hospital emergency transport ambulance as part of our critical care transport elective.
UW Health East Madison Hospital
UW Health East Madison Hospital (EMH) is one of the most advanced hospitals and wellness centers in the country. Smaller than our large, academic medical center downtown Madison, this community site sees healthcare as a holistic endeavor with a mission to not only diagnose and treat patients when they're sick, but also to partner with them in health and wellness.
Our emergency department cares for more than 20,000 adult and pediatric patients annually in this modern, community-sized clinical setting.
At EMH, third-year residents learn to put into practice leadership and team communication skills during a "pre-attending" experience in which they act as junior faculty - supervising APPs, junior residents, and medical students - preparing them to transition to both community-based and academic practice after graduation.
One of the nation’s distinguished five-star VA medical centers, this 87-bed acute care facility provides tertiary care to 130,000 veterans across Wisconsin and northern Illinois and includes one of the few heart, lung, kidney, and liver transplant and LVAD programs within the Department of Veterans Affairs.
The Madison VA hospital houses an 11-bed emergency department that provides care to 16,000 patients annually and is in the process of becoming accredited as a Level 3 Geriatric ED by the American College of Emergency Physicians. Twelve board-certified emergency physicians provide 12 hours of attending physician coverage daily.
Our residents complete a four-week rotation at the VA during their second year.
To help our residents build expertise in a variety of care settings and with diverse patient populations, they complete a four-week rotation at Beloit Memorial Hospital, a busy 111-bed community hospital located 45 miles south of Madison on the Wisconsin-Illinois border.
Throughout their residency, our learners complete approx. 30 shifts in the community ED setting between their second and third years, working one-on-one with faculty while gaining significant independent clinical responsibilities.
UW Health Med Flight
Operating since 1985, UW Health Med Flight is among the most well-known and respected critical care transport services in the country and provides world-class scene and inter-facility critical care transport services for Wisconsin, northern Illinois, and eastern Iowa.
Med Flight is one of fewer than five helicopter EMS programs in the United States staffed exclusively by attending physicians on every flight. A team of 30 physicians operates three twin-engine aircraft with state-of-the-art aviation technology alongside an experienced pilot and nurse on every flight.
The University of Wisconsin is one of the few programs in the U.S. to provide robust, high-impact training to residents. Starting in their second year, residents may begin to fly solo with Med Flight, providing an unique opportunity to manage critically ill and injured adult and pediatric patients, as well as gain extensive procedural and administrative experience outside of the traditional ED setting. Advanced training is available to residents through a 3+1 fellowship program.