Emergency Medicine/Critical Care Medicine (EM/CCM) Trainees’ Performance on Standardized Critical Care Medicine Examinations: A Ten-Year Review

Brian T. Wessman, David Page, Matthew Greer, Brian M. Fuller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Emergency Medicine/Critical Care Medicine (EM/CCM) trainees may obtain board certification through Internal Medicine (American Board of Internal Medicine [ABIM]), Surgery (American Board of Surgery [ABS]), and Anesthesiology (American Board of Anesthesiology [ABA]). However, EM/CCM trainees experience challenges, including: 1) additional training requirements and 2) an unwillingness to accept EM graduates by many programs. Objectives: We sought to: 1) compare EM/CCM knowledge acquisition to medicine (Internal Medicine [IM]/CCM), surgery (surgical critical care [SCC]), and anesthesiology (anesthesiology critical care medicine [ACCM]) Fellows at the local and national level using the Multidisciplinary Critical Care Knowledge Assessment Program (MCCKAP) in-service examination as an objective measure; and 2) compare American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) pass rates for EM/CCM. Methods: Single-center retrospective analysis comparing scores obtained by EM/CCM on the MCCKAP examination with SCC and ACCM over a 10-year period. Scores are presented as means with standard deviations. We performed similar analysis on ABMS examination pass rates. Results: There were 117 MCCKAP scores (37 EM/CCM; 80 SCC and ACCM) evaluated. EM/CCM mean score 562.4 (SD 67.4); SCC and ACCM mean score 505.3, (SD 87.5) at the institutional level (p < 0.001). Similarly, EM/CCM scored higher than the national mean (562.4, SD 67.4 vs. 500 SD 100, p < 0.001). Nationally, ABIM-CCM board certification rate was 91.2% for 137 EM/CCM, compared with 93.2% for IM/CCM (p = 0.22); 28 EM/CCM have obtained ABA-CCM board certification with rates similar to ACCM (90.4 vs. 89.3%; p = 0.85). Conclusions: EM/CCM Fellows demonstrate successful knowledge acquisition both locally and at a national level. EM/CCM achieve ABMS pass rates similar to other CCM trainees. The current arbitrary additional training requirements placed on EM/CCM should be removed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)473-480
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Emergency Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2020


  • Fellowship training
  • board certification
  • critical care medicine
  • critical care medicine training
  • emergency medicine
  • graduate medical education


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