CORD Research Showcase: The Impact of Interdisciplinary Education on Skills and Attitudes of Emergency Medicine and General Surgery Residents.

The CORDEM blog is proud to showcase this CORD AA 2016’award-winning poster presentation studying the impact of interdisciplinary education on emergency medicine and surgery residents. Please read on below to see how this study can potentially impact your program.

  • Target Population:
    • Residents
    • Educators
    • Program Directors
  • Contribution to Literature:
    • The authors describe a novel way to simultaneously improve procedural skills and interdisciplinary camaraderie between two specialties.
  • How can this change your practice
    • The incorporation of interdisciplinary education into residency education has the potential to be extremely beneficial. This approach can improve not only the objective procedural and diagnostic skills of participants, but also relationships between specialties. Improved cooperation between specialists from various fields improves patient care and reduces the stress of working with physicians from different backgrounds.

While an interdisciplinary medical team is a common occurrence in modern medicine, interdisciplinary educational sessions (IES) are far less common1. Despite studies that advocate interdisciplinary educational sessions in educational literature, we have been unable to find an interdisciplinary outline for skills education for General Surgery (GS) and Emergency Medicine (EM).

The aim of the study is to assess the perceptions of EM and GS residents of one another’s specialty. A secondary aim is to examine the effect of implementing interdisciplinary educational sessions for teaching common procedural skills.

This is a prospective study at an urban level I trauma center. The study participants were PGY 1-4 Emergency Medicine Residents (EMR) and PGY 1-5 General Surgery Residents (GSR) at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School in Newark, NJ. Interdisciplinary educational sessions were developed to provide residents with didactic and skills training for FAST exams and tube thoracostomy with faculty from both EM and GS.
A 20-question survey was designed using a 5 point Likert scale (1=Never/Strongly Disagree; 5=Always/Strongly Agree) to assess the participants’ perception of the other specialty; this was given to residents before and after the IES. Core perceptions assessed were the impact of interdisciplinary educational sessions on patient care, skills training, respect/communication, satisfaction with sessions, and comfort with the material.

A T-test was used to compare survey responses before and after the interdisciplinary educational sessions (p <0.05 considered significant).


Fifteen EMR and 7 GSR participated in the interdisciplinary educational sessions. We found that pre-interdisciplinary educational sessions, 80% of EMR reported rarely or never learning how to perform procedures with GSR; post-interdisciplinary educational sessions, only 40% reported this (mean Likert pre vs post: 2.1 vs 2.8 p=0.006). Similarly, 53% of EMR reported being insulted by GSR; post-interdisciplinary educational sessions only 27% reported this (3.4 vs 2.9 p=0.048). Only 13% of EMR felt respected by GSR pre-interdisciplinary educational sessions; post- interdisciplinary educational sessions this rose to 40% (3.0 vs 3.4 p=0.03). We also found that pre-interdisciplinary educational sessions, 21% of senior EMR (n=7) reported comfort with troubleshooting a chest tube; post-interdisciplinary educational sessions this grew to 72% (2.9 vs 3.9 p=0.03). Comfort managing Pleur-Evac also improved from 21% pre-interdisciplinary educational sessions to 72 % post interdisciplinary educational sessions (3.0 v 4.0 p=0.003).

We demonstrate that interdisciplinary educational sessions have a positive impact on trainee confidence levels. Interdisciplinary educational sessions may also lead to higher levels of respect among specialists and may foster a more collegial educational environment for residents.
In the future, we plan to continue these inter-disciplinary sessions to further both camaraderie and improve procedural skills for all specialists involved. Additionally, we have already begun preparations for other specialties to participate in IES including OBGYN and internal medicine. We will continue to gather data to present to Rutgers for university-wide adoption of IES

  1. Interdisciplinary Evidence-based Practice: Moving from Silos to Synergy
    Dr. Robin P. Newhouse, PhD, RN, Assistant Dean, Doctor of Nursing Practice Program & Associate Professor and Dr. Bonnie Spring, PhD, Director of Behavioral Medicine, Co-Program Leader in Cancer Prevention, Professor of Preventive Medicine, Psychology, and Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences


Survey Forms:







  • Ilya Ostrovosky, MD, Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine, Rutgers NJMS
  • Neil King, MD, PGY-4 Surgery Resident, Rutgers NJMS


  • Charlie Inboriboon, MD, Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine, UMKC- Truman


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