Are we better than the US Emergency Medicine training programs ?

saudi program of emergency medicine

Hey folks .. It has been a while since I wrote something. I’ll start your weekend with this study which was a questionnaire-based survey comparing EM training programs in Saudi Arabia Vs. US from residents’ prospective. The survey was divided into sections: Education, Clinical skills and work environment.

  • Sample Size : 342 Residents
  • Response Rate : 21.3% (Better in the Saudi group)
  • Results

1. For the Education part, the major differences were the Program provides adequate training:

  • for the written/oral board exam 92% in US Vs. 60% in Saudi group
  • to incorporate EBM into practice 97.4% Vs. 90%
  • to manage multiple trauma patients simultaneously 97.4% Vs. 83.3%
  • to manage criticaly ill ped patients 73.7% Vs. 79.3%
  • weekly academic activities are relevant to the clinical practice 97.4% Vs. 83.3%
  • Easy accessibility to educational resources 100% Vs. 69%

2. For the clinical skills part the Program provides opportunities for competency in:

  • Bedside US 100% Vs. 93.3% !! we need to improve this 😉
  • Difficult airway management 100% Vs.80%
  • Cricothyrotomy 89.5% Vs. 51.7%
  • IO infusions 100% Vs. 93.3
  • Pericardiocentesis 78.9% Vs. 48.3%
  • Vaginal Deliveries 97.4% Vs. 70%
  • Procedural sedation 97.4% Vs. 100%
  • Orthopod reduction/dislocation 92.1% Vs. 100%
  • Cardiac Pacing 92.1% Vs. 73.3%
  • Does the program have a simulation lab 100% Vs. 36.7%

3. Working Environment Part:

  • No. of patients/hour (>2/hour) 2.6% Vs. 56.7% !!
  • ability to evaluate a faculty at least once a year 100% Vs. 66.7%


  • Although the response rate was very poor (around 21%), a limitation of the study, we can not ignore these results that can be our weakness points.
  • Seems we need to improve our program ability to provide better training for oral and written exams.
  • Improve our simulation Experience (we have 2 sim labs in central region).
  • Improve our Difficult airway and other uncommon skills.
  • Implementing the use of Ultrasound into our practice (I think this got managed well in the central region).
  • The Saudi program gives better exposure to more patients.
  • Easy Accessibility to EM Resources (#FOAMed got this already, no need  for more textbooks) and check this too.

Reference :

Khaled Alghamdi, Abdulaziz Alburaih, and Mary Jo Wagner, “A Comparison between Emergency Medicine Residency Training Programs in the United States and Saudi Arabia from the Residents’ Perception,”Emergency Medicine International, vol. 2014, Article ID 362624, 4 pages, 2014. doi:10.1155/2014/362624


Abdalmohsen Ababtain

Senior Emergency Resident at Saudi Program of Emergency Medicine Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

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5 thoughts on “Are we better than the US Emergency Medicine training programs ?”

  1. Most of the comments they made about the Saudi programs are based on a single problem … Facilities are their but no body knows about them and I will give you two examples …
    SHFHS have severely discounted courses all over the year but no body knows about them the programs are so redundant and augmented so people are not oriented any more … ATLS will cost you 2500 SAR or so but if you go to SHFHS you will get it for 300 SAR !
    another example is resources … Every hospital got his own library and electronic access but you don’t stay their long enough to know… Even the SCFHS got their own library but again no body is giving guidance
    Oh and by the way … We have 3 simulation labs in central region and an animal lab that no body beside nosey people like me knows about …
    This study had several critical limitations but their is a pattern in need of recognition

  2. thanks Abdulmohsen for summarizing this article
    i’ve some comments ,,

    – Response rate is very poor though saudi residents resoond more.
    – the study include all programs in saudi arabia but only 5 EM programs in USA ( 5 out of … [at least 100]!? ). major selection bias in my opinion.
    – they consider anyone who did 6 months of training in EM is enough to judge about if residents are prepared for final exam and difficult airway , my takepoint is that would be more aprropriate if survied the senior residents.

    anyway ,, saudi EM program was deficient of sim lab and sim workshops BUT in last couple of years , Saudi EM program had promising start at 2 centers in Riyadh ( KFMC & NGHA sim labs ), but we all agree more efforts needed and more room for improvement.


  3. can i have those courses through them ? impressive ! whats the process ?
    P.S. i think you had a misspell thats why i didn’t get it

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