Department of Emergency Medicine

Clerkship Elective in the Emergency Medicine Department

Application must be submitted at least 4 months prior to the elective date

There are a limited number of elective positions available in Emergency Medicine at the University of Ottawa. Preference is given to uOttawa students in their last year of medical studies. Please look over the policy carefully to ensure that you have the requirements needed to process your application.

For uOttawa students, PLEASE DO NOT EMAIL MARGARET KING DIRECTLY about your elective. Instead, a google form has been created for you to apply for an elective with us.

Click here for form. 

The form will be available approximately two weeks before students from other schools can apply through the portal for these weeks.

Electives will be awarded on a first come, first serve basis subject to availability.

We will only be available for 2 or 4 week electives during peak periods from Sept-November, pre-CaRMS. Outside of this period, 3 week electives will be considered but 2 or 4 weeks are preferred. Electives only start every other week during these peak periods, as you will see when you access the form.

Non-uOttawa students are asked to visit the AFMC Student Portal for more information on visiting electives at uOttawa and to submit their application.


  1. To provide the student with the opportunity to gain experience in assessing a wide range of clinical problems seen in a teaching hospital emergency department;
  2. To improve the student's ability to take an accurate and concise history and physical exam in the undifferentiated patient;
  3. To improve the student's ability to develop a differential diagnosis, investigation plan, treatment, and disposition of the undifferentiated patient;
  4. To improve the student's technical skills in providing patient care in the ED.
  5. To improve communication, collaboration, and professional skills required for patient care in the ED.


The student will have the opportunity to assess and manage a broad range of patients presenting to the emergency department of a tertiary care university teaching hospital. The student will hone their ability to do focused history and physical exams, develop a differential diagnosis, and make decisions regarding patient investigations, treatment and disposition. This elective affords the opportunity for hands-on care for the full range of patient presentations from minor complaints to major life-threatening illness and injury. The student will be supervised by clinical teachers of emergency medicine. The student will be able to participate in a variety of teaching opportunities:  weekly academic half day, journal club, PGY1 rounds, and Emergency Medicine grand rounds.


Ottawa Hospital - Civic or General Campus


  • Must have done 6 months of Core Clerkship OR must have done 3 months of Core Clerkship PLUS 4 weeks of Emergency Electives prior to the Elective date.
  • Elective durations can be 2 or 4 weeks; 3 weeks during off peak season.  Please note, we encourage elective students to commit to two weekends in two-week electives, since efforts will be made to assign your shifts with the same preceptor for more than 1 shift, provided that the learners are able to stay for the full 2 weeks, including 2 weekends.
  • Must be available for day, evening or weekends (there are no night shifts in the ED).
  • Maximum of 4 shifts per week spread out over the various areas in the ED.
  • Maximum of 12 students during the elective timeframe.
  • Students will work a mixture of shifts over both campuses.

This information does not apply for EM electives at peripheral hospitals: Queensway Carleton, Winchester, Arnprior, etc, nor does this cover applications for Montfort Hospital electives as they are not coordinated through The Ottawa Hospital.


Pre-Clerkship Elective in the Emergency Medicine Department

Pre-Clerkship University of Ottawa Student Electives (Observerships) in the Department of Emergency Medicine:

Pre-Clerkship electives will only occur from March to July of each academic year, due to the high volume of senior electives from August to February. Application process will run from October 1-7 of each academic year. Students will receive an email from the EMIG president approximately late September advising of the process, as students must apply via a google form indicating specifics timeframes. Instructions will be clearly indicated on the notification email from the EMIG president.

The selection will be done through a «lottery system». Students may not contact the physicians directly, going through "back door" or self-schedule in such manners, as this is to ensure proper staffing in the Emergency Department, and to promote transparency and fairness in the process.

The students will shadow a staff physician or senior resident. They typically will not see patients by themselves or perform procedures on patients. Students must apply 4 months ahead of their requested time period. Due to the high demand for learners in the ED, the students cannot be guaranteed any particular time period in advance. Students will receive notification 4 weeks in advanced if they have a spot which will include scheduling instructions.


  1. To introduce the student to the clinical discipline of Emergency Medicine.
  2. To introduce the student to the working environment of the ED.
  3. To introduce the student to the unique nature of Emergency Medicine practice.
  • concise histories and physical exams
  • simultaneous patient evaluation and treatment
  • triage-distinguishing serious patients from those with minor complaints

The DEM will offer 2 types of electives:

Mandatory 2nd year observership:

  • This will occur within the students Mandatory week or Spring break time as per academic schedule
  • This will last 20 hours for 2nd year students only.
  • The length of each shift will not exceed 4 hours.
  • There will be a maximum of 2 students at 1 site at any time
  • The shifts can occur during the day, evening, or weekend.
  • The first 8 applicants will be offered a spot in EM first.
  • The shifts will be assigned by the Undergraduate Coordinator, Margaret King. Students will receive a schedule 1-2 weeks before the start date.

Non Mandatory 1st and 2nd year observership:

  • 1st year students: 10 hours
  • 2nd year students: 10 hours
  • Each shift length will be 4 hours in duration.
  • Students will be matched with either a senior resident or staff.
  • The observership with the resident and student must be completed within the 1 month block of the resident.
  • The observership with the staff may be completed over a 1-2 month period.
  • The first 20 applicants will be offered a spot in EM first. Depending on staffing availability, it is possible there will be other openings which will be determined in February.
  • The student and staff/resident will be notified of a pairing for an observership. The student will then contact the staff/resident by email to arrange a schedule. Staff physicians must ensure they do not book the junior observer when they will be supervising a clinical clerk. (Staff will receive a clinical clerk schedule from Margaret King.)
  • Staff and residents must ensure that the junior observer does not slow down patient care or flow in the emergency department.
  • The student schedule will be set based on the schedule and availability of the resident and staff.


The student will receive an evaluation at the end of their elective. The students are also expected to evaluate the elective and must send this evaluation to Ms. Margaret King before they will be credited for the elective. Students must bring an evaluation form during their final shift of the elective.

Cancelling an Elective:

After the student is notified of an elective, they must contact the staff or resident they have been paired with to set the schedule during the subsequent month. If the student is unable to do the elective within the following month, they must notify Margaret King immediately, who will assign another student to the elective.

Back to top