What Family Medicine Residency Program Directors Should Let Residents Interested in Emergency Medicine Know

What Family Medicine Residency Program Directors Should Let Residents Interested in Emergency Medicine KnowThere’s no lack of information regarding the contributions of family physicians to our healthcare system, particularly in emergency medicine. Without these professionals, it’s a simple fact that many parts of the country would be without adequate emergency medical care.

The shortage of emergency physicians is especially acute in rural areas, where emergency departments have long relied on the services of doctors trained in family medicine. Like emergency medicine physicians, family doctors are considered generalists who routinely see patients regardless of age, gender, or medical condition. In rural and other underserved areas, where the ER is often the only access to health care, family medicine training makes physicians the nearly ideal emergency services professional, capable of providing a wide spectrum of medical care.

Board of Certification in Emergency Medicine (BCEM)

Unfortunately, family doctors working in ERs are often not granted the same level of professional respect as colleagues with residency training in emergency medicine. To distinguish themselves, family physicians with extensive ER experience seek out certification in emergency medicine with the Board of Certification in Emergency Medicine (BCEM), a Member Board of the nationally recognized American Board of Physician Specialties®. BCEM certification serves as demonstrable proof that a physician has the skills and knowledge to deliver safe and effective emergency care.

The good news for family medicine residents is that they don’t need to also complete an emergency medicine residency to be eligible for BCEM certification. Family medicine doctors with a minimum of five years and 7,000 hours of ER casework are eligible to apply with the BCEM, as are family physicians who have completed graduate training in an emergency medicine fellowship approved by the American Academy of Emergency Physicians (AAEP). Fellowships recognized by the AAEP meet the high training standards that allow physicians to demonstrate mastery in emergency medicine through BCEM certification.

Emergency Medicine Fellowships for Primary Trained Physicians

An AAEP-recognized program offers a broad scope of training and teaching, such as grand rounds, didactics, and workshops that would be difficult to arrange and support without an educational infrastructure. These fellowship programs also support a larger educational infrastructure, keeping physicians up to date on medical literature and practices.

After completing an AAEP-approved fellowship, primary care physicians are eligible to apply for certification with the Board of Certification in Emergency Medicine® (BCEM). Once candidates are deemed eligible, they must pass both a written and oral examination to earn certification with the BCEM. The computer-based written exam consists of 325 multiple-choice questions. Candidates must pass the written exam in order to take the oral component.

For more information about dates and fees for the application and the written exam, click here.

Once granted, all BCEM certifications are good for eight years, expiring on December 31st of the eighth year.

The process for BCEM certification is rigorous, but when physicians achieve BCEM certification, they:

  • Become recognized as qualified emergency medicine physicians, positioning themselves as leaders in the healthcare community and expanding their career opportunities
  • Enjoy opportunities to exchange information about clinical experiences and best practices
  • Have a meaningful voice as a valued participant in the community

We encourage you to inform your family medicine residents who are interested in emergency medicine about BCEM. If you would like to learn more about the BCEM, contact the ABPS today.

Save the Date
House of Delegates & Annual Scientific Meeting
Innovation & Overcoming Challenges
June 10-15, 2022
Patient Care Is Our Priority

Medical organizations throughout North America understand that our rigorous certification standards prove that ABPS Diplomates are capable of delivering the best patient care possible.

I feel truly blessed and grateful to be an internal medicine board-certified diplomate with the American Board of Physician Specialties. Their ongoing, steadfast commitment to physician board(s) enhancement, forward focused vision, and tenacity is second to none. ABPS has become a recognized choice in Physician Board Certification.

Adam Rench, MD
Internal Medicine
To be the best, you must measure yourself against the best. Achieving Board Certification in Emergency Medicine by the ABPS gave me the opportunity to demonstrate mastery of the art of EM in an objective way. The high bar that ABPS sets for candidates to be allowed to take both the written and oral exam is a testament to ABPS's rigorous vetting of one's ability to practice Emergency Medicine at a high level. By maintaining these credentials, I've been able to instill confidence in my abilities at the department/employer level and ultimately with the patients that choose to seek emergency care at the facilities at which I practice.

Royce Mathew Joseph, MD
Emergency Medicine
The American Board of Physician Specialties has supported the entire field of Integrative Medicine in sponsoring our board. It has been so validating of the importance of prevention-oriented and holistic approaches to care while emphasizing the scientific basis of this specialty to have it recognized by ABPS. I am proud to have been one of the first groups to be board certified by ABPS in Integrative Medicine, leading the way for others committed to training in this specialty.

Myles Spar, MD
Integrative Medicine