Why Should I Donate Notes?

Some of you may wonder why you should donate notes, that took you hours, weeks, and months of your life to prepare, to a website that will give them away to anyone who wants them, for free? At ED Exam we are aware that some FACEMs quite rightly treasure their study notes, and practice questions. After all, you created them, you own them, and it’s up to you what you do with them. Some people may feel that by handing out pre-written summaries, then those that use them may not spend the required time reading the main textbooks, and may either miss valuable points, or may simply not learn the material as well as they might if they were to spend the extra time reading, summarising and creating their own notes. These are valid concerns.

However at ED Exam we feel that there are many potential benefits that may outweigh the risks mentioned above, and a few reasons why using pre-written summaries may be helpful.

The sheer volume of information trainees are expected to digest is huge, and growing by the day.

Some people feel (and if you heard Jenny Brookes speak at the ACEM Conference in Canberra last year, she has the data to back this up), that one of the common themes in people who fail the exam is that they have not read at least one of the main text books cover to cover.  However there are also many people who pass the exam without reading the main books cover to cover. Given that the reading list has grown in recent years, and the main texts have steadily increased in size as new editions are published, there is a major problem with the sheer volume of information to be digested.  Registrars not only have to read telephone-book size texts, but also need to read ancillary texts on ECG’s, Toxiclogy, ICU, and more. If you don’t believe us, here is a verbatim quote from the Venom Publishing website (authors of the Dunn et al textbook), regaridng the new 5th edition.

          25% more content than the 4th edition
          Over 500 new topics covered

Suddenly Registrars who decided to postpone their exam by 6 months now have 25% more content and 500 new topics to cover, from one book alone, than their predecessors in the last exam did!!

As well as this everyone is now listening to EMRAP and EMA, (and all of the other audio material in our links section), so if you haven’t heard the latest one, you won’t sound as up to date as the last candidate in the clinical exam. Having access to other people’s notes will simply make study time more efficient, and means that instead of wasting time summarising, trainees can spend that time memorising material that has already been sifted out of the main books.

Another issue is how Emergency Medicine practice has changed in the last 5-10 years.

When the administrators of this site joined up as baby ED Reg’s 10-12 years ago, the term “access block” didn’t exist.  We remember night shifts when you could sleep, or study, if it wasn’t busy, and even on a really bad night you’d still be able to go to the toilet and eat something. Nowadays Registrars can’t even take a leak during a 10 hour night shift, let alone eat or scracth themselves.  During day shifts as recently as 6 or 7 years ago, something called “on the floor teaching” was a regular occurrence in many major metropolitan ED’s. Consultants would show Registrars interesting Xrays, ECG’s and path results, and take them in to see patients with classic signs.  In our experience (in Melbourne ED’s) this process has been extinguished by KPI pressures and the bureaucratic nightmare that is ED overcrowding and access block. Registrar training is being sacrificed for the benefit of these KPI’s. Given that we as a profession have allowed our specialty to (d)evolve to this point, we owe it to our current Registrars to have access to our accumulated knowledge and experience in other formats.  Anyone who’s done an anaesthetic rotation (and that is all FACEMs) know that surgical, obstetric and anaesthetic registrars have one-on-one, closely supervised, patient centred, daily clinical supervision and practice with Consultants in theatre. This does not happen to any meaningful degree in Australian Emergency Departments.  If it does happen at your hospital, please let us know where you work, so we, and every ED trainee can come & work there too.

And finally, one of our key philosophies at ED Exam is that all ED Registrars are future colleagues.

And as such we should do what we can to maximise their knowledge, skills, and quality of training.  We feel that giving trainees a list of (rapidly expanding in size) textbooks, the syllabus, and a pat on the back with a “we’ll see you at the exam” wave, and expecting them to somehow get through what is probably one of the most difficult academic endeavours on the planet, is just plain silly.  Just because a lot of us got through that way doesn’t mean it can’t be done better, or with less stress, and there is clearly room for improvement in the pass rate.


So if you don’t want to contribute to this site, then we understand, but if you do, please email us so we can get your notes uploaded asap and we can start helping our junior colleagues get the most out of us.