Bridge to Emergency Medicine EM for medical student curriculum

An 8-week intensive curriculum to transition from senior medical student to EM intern

Congratulations! You are a graduating medical student about to start an Emergency Medicine (EM) residency. Now what? If you are anything like we were as senior medical students, you feel lost in the vast abundance of learning options. Come July, you will be asked questions like, “This is the ECG of the patient in room 10, who missed dialysis yesterday. Do you want to get any medications started, doctor?” You will quickly find that you cannot just click the answer “calcium” from a multiple-choice list and move on. In the real world, you have to make complex decisions. Which medication should you give, at what dose, and how do you assess its effectiveness?

It’s normal to feel a little nervous about starting as an intern. Use that energy to be as prepared as you can! We have assembled a list of vetted, high-quality resources to help you prepare for your intern year. We have packaged it into an 8-week guide, called Bridge to EM (2nd edition).

But wait, what’s new? Some of you may be familiar with Bridge to EM. However, we spent over 100 hours reviewing, retooling, and updating the curriculum in 2024. Over 2/3 of the curriculum from the first edition have been replaced. You can now expect the addition of the following from the 2nd edition:

  • New articles that are accessible, recent, and aligned with learning goals
  • More intentional spaced repetition
  • Clinical skill building: Point of care ultrasound (POCUS), CT, and X-ray interpretation
  • Professional building of “soft skills”

But wait, did you know that we also have a catalog of EM Bound newsletters dedicated to medical students pursuing a career in EM? So many rules of the game in the senior year and application process have changed.


The Bridge to EM resources have been vetted to make sure you get a jump start on all the most important topics before you start your intern year. We purposely did not do a deep-dive on very specific or esoteric topics. Instead, we aimed to provide practical resources addressing the diagnosis and management of conditions that you will encounter frequently.

We intentionally interweaved topics and built in spaced repetition for maximal long-term retention (see the ALiEM review of Make it Stick for more on how to learn well). We have also built in active learning cases and both written and auditory resources. Note that there are NO textbook chapters, and that these resources are free or low-cost to access for medical students.

General Daily Template

Each day of the 8-week curriculum follows the same general format with the following components:

  • EM:RAP C3 podcast episode (read the concise, high-yield show notes as well)
  • 1-2 blogs and/or podcasts
  • Skills cases or videos (POCUS, CT reading, ECG, Xray interpretation)
  • When applicable, review high-yield ALiEM reference cards later on shift

Getting Started

We recommend you follow these steps to make the most of the Bridge to EM curriculum:

  1. Schedule time in your calendar each day to do the reading and/or listening. By setting aside a little time each day, you can accomplish much over the months from Match Day to the first day of internship.
  2. Sign up for EMRA student membership online, which gets you access to EM:RAP (and tons of other great resources including ACEP Membership). IMPORTANT: Be sure to follow the crucial instructions on accessing EM:RAP under your EMRA membership. Essentially, you need to log into the EMRA site with your username first and access the EM:RAP site.
  3. Download the EM:RAP C3 podcasts (free for EMRA members) using the EM:RAP app or any other podcasting app. Consider listening to the podcasts at slightly faster speed than 1x to save time.
  4. Get used to listening to podcasts such as while driving, at the gym, or on walks as a habit that you will continue throughout residency.
  5. Truly focus and get the most out of each thing you are doing (see ALiEM review of Deep Work for more on focus).
  6. Do not worry about trying to memorize everything! Through repetition, interweaving, and intentional spacing you will build knowledge. It’s unrealistic to expect to remember every fact, but actively listen and read. You’ll be impressed with how strong your foundation will be by the start of intern year! To help you retain the key points, after you listen to a podcast or read a blog, try summarizing the key points to yourself, teach someone else about it, or jot a few notes for yourself in an organized place where you can review them later.

The Bridge to EM curriculum is to get you thinking like a doctor and not to memorize facts for tests. Use this roadmap as a foundation to inspire you to read more on topics to fill your knowledge gaps. Get up to speed on topics that may save a life in a few short months!

Get Credit for Your Learning on ALiEMU

Thanks to the exclusive sponsorship by the EM Residents’ Association (EMRA), we were able to augment this 8-week curriculum into a series of weekly quizzes on ALiEMU to test your knowledge and document your completion with a digital badge and certificate. There is a bonus ECG quiz. If you complete all of them, you earn a special “EM Bridge Crosser” mega-badge. Of note, the quiz questions still partially reflect the Bridge to EM’s first edition curriculum and thus may not fully reflect the second edition changes yet. Updating quizzes is a project we are actively working on and we appreciate your patience!

Bridge to EM Team

  • Andres Lopez, MD (Bridge to EM Co-Lead; EM Resident at the University of North Carolina)
  • Christina Shenvi, MD, PhD, MBA (Bridge to EM Co-Lead; Associate Professor of EM at the University of North Carolina)
  • Timothy Wetzel, MD (Legacy First Edition Author, Emergency Physician with Wake Emergency Physicians & PA)
  • Michelle Lin, MD (Advisor and ALiEMU liaison; Professor of EM at the University of California, San Francisco )
Internal Med
Generalized Weakness
Back Pain
Resource 1
Ear, Nose, & Throat
EM Cases: Dental Trauma (podcast optional) with ALiEM Card
EM Clerkship: Neonatal Resuscitation with optional EM Cases’ deeper dive
EMDocs: Eclampsia
REBELEM: Postpartum Hemorrhage
C3: Pulmonary Embolism
Resource 2
PEM Playbook: Fontanelle Facts
EMDocs: Neurogenic Shock
Internal Med
Core EM: DKA (read until NAGMA management or listen to podcast episode at bottom)
Internal Med
Core EM: Refractory Shock
Radiology and ECGs
Winter is Coming
Risky Rhythms
CXR Case 106
CT Case 25
LITFL: Abdominal CT Basics: SBOLITFL
US Guided Joint Aspiration
ECG Activate or Wait? Case 6
POCUS Skills:
Core Ultrasound: Skin and Soft Tissue Infection with ALiEM Card
Core Ultrasound: Basic OBGYN with ALiEM Card
Ear Nose Throat
Painful Red Eye
Psychiatric Emergencies 1
Soft Tissue Infections
Psychiatric Emergencies 2
Resource 1
Soft Skills
EMRA: ED Efficiency (podcast)
Bookmark for Later
ALiEM: High Yield Hits for Interns


Michelle Lin, MD
ALiEM Founder and CEO
Professor and Digital Innovation Lab Director
Department of Emergency Medicine
University of California, San Francisco
Michelle Lin, MD


Professor of Emerg Med at UCSF-Zuckerberg SF General. ALiEM Founder @aliemteam #PostitPearls at Bio:
Michelle Lin, MD