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Background

Emergency Physician training in the Netherlands is based on a state-of-the-art, competency-based curriculum. However, at the end of the current three-year training programme, many Emergency Physicians feel that they lack some of the skills and knowledge to be fully prepared for the challenges they face during their work in the Emergency Department. In large part, this is due to time constraints within the training programme, the variable degrees of responsibility Emergency Physicians are given in Dutch hospitals to make management decisions for their patients, and the lack of role models 'on the floor' with specific training and experience in Emergency Medicine.

In an international perspective, Emergency Physicians from the Netherlands at the end of their training are seen to perform on an intermediate level - better than some, but not quite as well as others.1 This is reflected in the collective experience of Dutch Emergency Physicians who have worked abroad, as well as that of overseas Emergency Physicians2 who have chosen to spend time working in the Netherlands. It is not simply due to a suboptimal level of knowledge and skills. Currently, insufficient time can be spent teaching how to balance and integrate the varied, often conflicting aspects of assessing and managing the partially differentiated emergency patient. This is what truly defines the speciality of Emergency Medicine.

This is what truly defines the speciality of Emergency Medicine

Before Dutch Emergency Physicians can function on a higher level, and assume a higher level of responsibility for the patients in their department, there is a need to improve these aspects of training. We hope that the EM Masterclass programme will help fill this void.

EM Masterclass is a modular program, developed by Emergency Medicine experts from the Netherlands and abroad. In the near future, it is envisaged that further Masterclasses will be organised, covering topics that span Critical care and Anaesthetics, Medical Emergencies, Surgical Emergencies, and Trauma. After completing the first five Masterclasses, a final Masterclass aims to integrate all the knowledge and skills learned.


  1. Thijssen WAMH, Giesen PHJ, Wensing M, Emergency Departments in the Netherlands, Emerg Med J 2012;29:6-9
  2. Holmes JL, Emergency medicine in the Netherlands, Emerg Med Australasia 2010;22(1): 75–81.

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