DOI: 10.1002/aet2.10922 ISSN: 2472-5390

Defining the clinical and procedural opportunities available to residents during rural rotations

Brandon Haefke, Daniel Scholz, James (Jim) Homme, Derick Jones
  • Emergency Nursing
  • Education
  • Emergency Medicine



Many emergency medicine (EM) residency programs include clinical rotations in rural emergency departments (“rural rotations”) as part of their curriculum. These rotations are designed to expose residents to clinical scenarios that are less frequently encountered in tertiary centers. The objective of this study was to determine the rate at which residents were exposed to certain clinical and procedural experiences (CPEs) while on rural rotations compared to their usual academic training hospital.


We conducted a retrospective chart review of all patient encounters involving EM residents at a large academic hospital in Rochester, Minnesota, compared with two rural hospitals in Austin, Minnesota, and Albert Lea, Minnesota, from July 1, 2019, to June 30, 2020. The frequency of each CPE was calculated and expressed as the number of CPEs encountered per 100 clinical hours worked. These values were compared between the rural and academic sites.


A total of 33,417 patient encounters over a total of 41,700 resident clinical hours were analyzed between the three study sites. The two settings (rural vs. academic) had significant differences in baseline patient demographics including age, acuity, and admission rates. Several CPEs were found to occur at a higher frequency in the rural hospitals versus the academic hospital: ambulance necessity documentation (9.3/100 h rural vs. 0.07/100 h academic, p ≤ 0.0001), laceration repair (3.39/100 h rural vs. 2.0/100 h academic, p = 0.0004), and splint/cast application (1.53/100 h rural vs. 0.07/100 h academic, p ≤ 0.0001).


Rural EM rotations provide residents exposure to a variety of valuable educational experiences. These rotations may provide residents with superior exposures to some clinical experiences compared to academic hospitals, particularly out‐of‐ED transfers and orthopedic procedures. Residency programs without a current rural rotation should consider creating this as an option for their trainees.