Student Clinical Rotations

If you have any questions about the courses below, please contact Janna Nelson at

Emergency Medicine Elective (EMED 5450)

At the University of Pittsburgh, we offer a four-week elective in Emergency Medicine for fourth year medical students. Students will rotate at one of our 4 clinical sites – UPMC Presbyterian University Hospital, UPMC Mercy Hospital, UPMC Shadyside Hospital, and Magee Women’s Hospital. Students see patients independently and are supervised by attending physicians. Students are expected to see approximately 2 to 4 patients at a time depending on their comfort level and are encouraged to do all necessary procedures on their patients. Students work approximately 16 eight-hour clinical shifts in the Emergency Department during the month.

Students are offered the opportunity to spend a shift with the STAT MedEvac helicopter system and/or with one of our residents in prehospital care. These optional clinical opportunities provide exposure to air and ground transport and EMS systems.

In addition, students participate in approximately 15 hours of simulation and didactic sessions. Our didactic sessions expose the student to over 50 critical simulation scenarios and 50 low acuity cases and provides hands-on point-of-care ultrasound training. During one of the final didactic sessions, students will create and run their own simulation case and teach their fellow students. ACLS certification is provided at the end of the rotation. Students are encouraged, but not required to attend weekly residency education conference and monthly journal club.

Our elective typically accommodates 8-10 students per month. Completion of all major third year core clerkships including Surgery, Medicine, Obstetrics-Gynecology, Psychiatry, and Pediatrics is required.

The University of Pittsburgh Office of Diversity Programs offers Visiting Clerkship program for medical students from ethnicities that are underrepresented in medicine. Please visit for more information. 

Course Directors: Adam Z. Tobias, MD and Adam Janicki, MD

Get Ready for Residency (MSELCT 4444)

This is an eight day intensive simulation course to prepare the graduating medical student for some of the challenges of residency. Each student will participate in daily small group simulation sessions designed to expose the student to common situations he/she may face as a new resident. Case scenarios range from critical patients to outpatient emergencies to phone calls from nurses on the floor asking for orders. At the completion of this course, the graduating medical student will hopefully be better prepared to face a wide range of challenges in residency.

Course Director: Adam Z. Tobias, MD

Medical Toxicology (EMED 5460)

This four-week clinical elective provides students an experience in the assessment and treatment of toxicology patients. Students spend time with toxicology faculty and fellows in consultation, examination, treatment, and follow-up of patients in the emergency, inpatient and outpatient settings. The clinical experience includes daily clinical rounds on inpatients, outpatient consults, including Children's Hospital and Pittsburgh Poison Center case reviews. Medical students attend daily rounds with the medical toxicology fellows and join the attending on cases presenting to UPMC Presbyterian, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, and UPMC Mercy Hospital. A portion of the rotation is held at the Pittsburgh Poison Center, where students will learn from current patient cases and summary case reviews. In addition, daily teaching sessions are provided by members of the Medical Toxicology Service. 

Course Director: Anthony Pizon, MD

Point of Care Ultrasound (EMED 5465)

This rotation serves as an introduction to the use of point of care ultrasonography (POCUS) over the course of 4 weeks. The course will expose students to the use of focused, point of care ultrasonography to make bedside clinical decisions for the care of acutely ill patients. POCUS is one of the most rapid growing skills in contemporary medicine. It has spread from specific use by Cardiology, OBGYN & Radiology to broader applications for virtually any organ system or procedural guidance.

Course Directors: Christopher Schott, MD and Marek Radomski, DO

Science of Resuscitation (ILS) (EMED 5735)

This course examines current issues in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), emphasizing how bench research in acute resuscitation science has been translated into clinical practice. We critically evaluate the primary evidence (original research) upon which the current Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) protocols are based, and identify gaps in current knowledge. The didactic portion consists of journal-club style small-group sessions with the faculty on four days each week. During these sessions, the group critically evaluates practical actions advocated by ACLS using an evidence-based format. Small group sessions include simulations of clinical resuscitation and practical exercises with patient simulators in order to reinforce and demonstrate particular concepts and equipment. Structured laboratory experiences in resuscitation research laboratories emphasize how the physiological principles of resuscitation have been discovered. These laboratory experiences involve direct participation in animal research. Each student writes a critique of an existing clinical problem or a proposal for a new clinical research project, demonstrating attention to the basic science of resuscitation, as well as to important confounding variables that plague resuscitation research. During the course, students complete the required material for certification in ACLS.

This course satisfies the Integrated Life Science course requirement.

The overall goal of this course is for students to gain an understanding of the scientific underpinnings of resuscitation medicine.

Course Directors: Clifton W. Callaway, MD, PhD and Ankur A. Doshi, MD

Senior Elective in Quality and Patient Safety (5470)

During these four weeks, you will work your way through a scheduled progression of learning about patient safety and quality improvement in healthcare. Coursework includes:

 1.  Designated IHI Quality and Patient Safety online modules, including participation with the associated on-line discussion forum.  These modules introduce the basic concepts of quality and patient safety programs in healthcare delivery.  (Weeks 1 and 2)
2.  Specialty-specific modules focusing on and discussing quality and patient safety efforts related to your chosen discipline, including content lead by local specialty physician champions.  Includes written reflection questions.  (Week 3)
3.  Perform a Root Cause Analysis for a case with an adverse outcome. (Week 3)
4.  Provide peer feedback on RCA assignment (Week 4)
5.  Design a Rapid Quality Improvement Plan to address a quality and or patient safety concern.  (Week 4)

Course Directors: Charissa Pacella, MD and Paul Phrampus, MD


Mini Electives 

The Department of Emergency Medicine offers several unique Professional Enrichment Courses throughout the year.  They include courses such as:

Ultrasound Basics 
Bystander Emergency Response 
Introduction to Disaster Management 
Essential Procedures in Clinical Medicine 
The Emergency Expert 


Clerkships Taught by our Faculty

Adult Inpatient Medicine Clerkship  (MED 5322)
Pre Clerkship Course (MED 5765)
Specialty Care Clerkship (EMED 5376)