Learning Pathways How-To

There is no one “right” way to learn Emergency Medicine. As a seasoned scholar who has made a commitment to lifelong learning, you should be aware of what methods work best for you. FoEM Learning Pathways provide vetted self-study multimodal resources that pair with each Foundations I (F1) and II (F2) course unit.  They are intended to provide a road map as you navigate the complex terrain of emergency medicine practice.  They are intentionally flexible, allowing your choices to guide your learning.

FoEM Learning Pathway Essentials

  • Use objectives for each unit to guide your preparation
  • Spend at least 2 hours a week studying
  • Use our vetted and coordinated references, or use your own

Using Learning Pathways for Independent Study

Foundations of Emergency Medicine core content courses (Foundations I & II) are based on a flipped classroom model. This method relies on your independent review of core knowledge prior to each Foundations meeting.  Your local program leaders will determine in what order and at what speed you will engage with course units.  For any given unit, pay close attention to the objectives list to understand what content to review on your own AND what topics may be emphasized during Foundations course meetings.  Learning Pathways can be easily accessed from our website home page by scrolling down and selecting the system of interest.

Time Investment

It is impossible to learn best practices for our entire scope of practice without studying outside of your clinical time.  Your clinical training is undoubtedly chaotic and, at times, overwhelming.  It is easy to get off track with self-study plans and lose motivation over time.  Learning Pathway content is intended to refocus your efforts on a weekly basis.  

Ideally, you should review each topic in the objective list for each unit.  Realistically, you should triage your time to focus on common clinical presentations and known gaps in your knowledge.  At a minimum, try to protect 2 hours of study time each week.  The more you prepare for in-person Foundations meetings, the higher-yield they will be.  The more you study over the course of the year, the better prepared you will be to make critical decisions that impact your patient’s lives.  

Learning Pathway Vetted Resources

The following resources have been reviewed by FoEM faculty to ensure quality and level-appropriate learning.  While we recommend you use them to study, you may select alternative resources if you believe they include evidence-based best practices.

Foundations I

  • Text-Based
    • Rosen’s Emergency Medicine (10th Edition, Walls et al.)
    • Tintinalli’s Emergency Medicine (9th Edition, Tintinalli et al.)
    • Tintinalli’s Emergency Medicine Manual (8th Edition, Cydulka et al.)
  • Multimedia
    • EB Medicine (www.ebmedicine.net, free with EMRA membership)
    • FOAMed (high quality, free open access blogs)
    • Podcasts (high quality, free open access podcasts)
  • Supplements
    • FoEM Case-Based Imaging (self-study image interpretation videos)
    • FoEM Frameworks (cognitive scaffolding for common presentations)
    • Pharmacy Pearls (brief, evidence-based EM pharmacology reviews)

Foundations II

  • Text-Based
    • Critical Care Emergency Medicine (2nd Edition, Farcy et al.)
    • Critical Care Medicine (5th Edition, Parillo et al.)
    • Journal Articles (references for evidence-based practice guidelines)
  • Multimedia
    • EB Medicine (www.ebmedicine.net, free with EMRA membership)
    • FOAMed (high quality, free open access blogs)
    • Podcasts (high quality, free open access podcasts)
  • Supplements
    • FoEM Case-Based Imaging (self-study image interpretation videos)
    • Pharmacy Pearls (brief, evidence-based EM pharmacology reviews)

Accessing FoEM Learning Pathway Resources

Your local program leadership should be able to help direct you towards options for accessing specific references in our Learning Pathways.  They may be available through your institutional online library, provided by your residency or require purchase using CME funds. 

Text-Based References

The traditional textbooks listed above (Rosen’s, Tintinalli’s, Critical Care EM and Critical Care Medicine) are best suited for learners who want a comprehensive review of learning topics.  These are certainly the most time consuming options, but also the most thorough way to lay a solid foundation of knowledge.  If you choose this pathway, incorporate effective reading strategies and use FoEM unit objectives to guide your focused study within listed chapters.  Tintinalli’s Manual may be considered for use as a high-yield bulleted version of the full textbook.  You may have access to these textbooks through your institutional online library (Access Medicine -> Tintinalli’s; Clinical Key -> Rosen’s, CCM, etc) or you may need to use CME funds.

Multimedia References

You’ve likely heard of Free Open Access Medical Education or “FOAMed”…it is a fundamental component of our organization’s identity.  The number of online resources available for reference and independent study of emergency medicine has grown exponentially in the last few years; it is easy to get lost during independent searches and lean into unreliable or opinion-based content.  This pathway was designed to provide specifically curated, quality controlled, level-appropriate resources for those of you who prefer videos, podcasts and blogs to traditional textbook options. Resources in this pathway will provide high yield summaries of information and NOT comprehensive knowledge. You should plan to build on this foundation with additional reading as a more senior resident.

EB Medicine
EB Medicine provides free online access to Emergency Medicine Practice and Pediatric Emergency Medicine Practice—the leading evidence-based journals in emergency medicine—for all EM residents. To access the content, simply create a free account at www.ebmedicine.net/residents.

FOAMed resources (blogs and podcasts) have been screened for quality and paired to each unit based on listed objectives.  All listed “FOAM” resources were free and open access at them time of publication. 


The supplements section of FoEM Learning Pathways includes coordinated learning tools created by or in conjunction with Team FoEM.  These are intended to help you integrate multiple FoEM quality references into your independent study.

Case-Based Imaging
This is an independent study curriculum (learner-navigated) that reviews fundamental image interpretation skills.  Modules are “case-based” in that they focus on essential and often time-sensitive diagnoses targeting the emergency medicine setting.  Full CBI modules found on our CBI course page include a pre-test, high-yield video instruction with guided notes, and post-test.  Your program may allow III (Individualized Interactive Instructor) credit for this resource.

FoEM Frameworks focuses on teaching organized approaches to common clinical entities with the aim to equip emergency medicine learners with cognitive scaffolding to efficiently work up and care for undifferentiated patients.  Frameworks visuals and explanation guides can be found on our Frameworks page

Pharmacy Pearls
Pharmacy Friday Pearls by Jimmy Pruitt, PharmD, include evidence-based and clinically relevant pharmacology topic reviews.