Emergency medicine (EM) is a new specialty in Uganda since 2017 which is currently actively engaged in improving its emergency care system. To build a strong emergency care system, it is important to have a critical mass of specially trained health professionals with the skillset and dedication to work in emergency departments. There is no current formal EM undergraduate curriculum and so most undergraduates do not get the chance to interact with the new specialists and to gain interest. The MUST-EMIG was established to bridge this gap. This study was done to assess the contribution of MUST-EMIG towards the development of this critical mass.
1. Discover students' reasons for joining the Mbarara University of Science and Technology Emergency Medicine Interest Group (MUST-EMIG).
2. Assess whether interest in learning emergency medicine was affected by participation in MUST-EMIG.
3. Evaluate plans to pursue emergency medicine as a specialty before and after joining MUST-EMIG.
4. Determine whether MUST-EMIG affected students’ perception of emergency medicine’s importance in Uganda’s health care system.
5. Elicit feedback from students on their experience as members of MUST-EMIG.
The MUST-EMIG executive developed a membership survey which was reviewed by MUST-EMIG’s faculty advisor for suitability. Members of MUST-EMIG were voluntarily asked to participate in the online survey. Results of the survey were summarized using descriptive statistics and thematic analysis.
49 responses (46.7% response rate) were collected and analysed. Participants included 29 (59.2%) male and 20 (40.8%) female medical students. The majority of participants were fourth year students 22 (44.9%). 44 (89.8%) students joined MUST-EMIG to learn how to handle medical emergencies, and expressed a desire of at least 6/10 to learn more about emergency medicine after utilising opportunities provided by MUST-EMIG. Overall, students had a good experience with MUST-EMIG. They reported that our interest group had provided them networking, unique learning, and leadership opportunities. Having an EMIG significantly affects students’ desire to pursue a career in emergency medicine and their perception of the relevance of emergency medicine.
An EMIG helps develop interest of medical students in emergency medicine. Students passionate about emergency medicine need to be supported to help them preserve and further develop this passion.