TOH Electives

Pre-clerkship Emergency Medicine electives are a great way to gain exposure to the field and help you decide if the specialty is right for you. At uOttawa Med, there are essentially two ways you can accomplish this, 1) through the department at The Ottawa Hospital or 2) at a community hospital in the area.

1) Ottawa hospital Department of Emergency Medicine Pre-Clerkship Elective

Preclerkship (1st and 2nd year) University of Ottawa Student Electives (Observerships) in the Department of Emergency Medicine for the current Academic Year

Deadline to submit application is typically mid-October. You will receive an email regarding the application process from your class presidents.

Please note: you will be contacted in the following SPRING if you are chosen to complete an elective.

Preclerkship electives will only occur from April to August ONLY due to the high volume of senior electives from September to February.

The students will shadow a staff physician or senior resident. They typically will not see patients by themselves or perform procedures on patients. 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:

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.
    • Due to limited availability, a lottery process will be used to select pre-clerk students to complete the elective. Depending on staffing availability, it is possible there will be other openings which will be determined in February, at which point further students will be chosen at random.
    • 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 ED.
    • The student schedule will be set based on the schedule and availability of the resident and staff.

Mandatory 2nd year observership:

    • This will occur within the student’s 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 shifts will be assigned by the Undergraduate Coordinator, Margaret King and students will receive a schedule 1-2 weeks before the start date.


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.   

Elective Medical Student Guidelines for Clinical Shifts: 

  • Please arrive promptly and dress appropriately and conservatively (no jeans, short skirts, sandals, logo t-shirts, bare midriffs, low cut tops or shirts).
  • Students should have lab coats and student ID.
  • Before you start your shift, introduce yourself to your staff.
  • Discuss goals for the shifts and preceptor expectations.

2) Community PRE-CLERKSHIP elective

Due to the extremely high demand for EM electives at TOH, we have prepared a database of hospitals in neighbouring communities.

Community EM Electives Database

3) Clerkship Elective

Please see this comprehensive document that outlines EM electives across Canada and provides feedback from medical students that have attended them.

FRCP Emerg Electives Document

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