CanadiEM Frontline Primer

Introducing…the CanadiEM Frontline Primer

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We’ve developed the CanadiEM Frontline Primer to help during this chaotic time. With the COVID-19 pandemic, many centres across the world have seen redeployment of physicians and other healthcare workers from their usual areas of work to acute care settings like the emergency department. For those of you who will be redeployed, we thank you for joining the Emergency Department (ED) team. To welcome you, we have been tirelessly working on a digital primer that you can keep on your ziplock-bag-encased iPhone or pull up easily on a hospital computer. 

Please find this as a warm welcome from the emergency medicine family.

The CanadiEM Frontline Primer

Access the resource via this link: (case sensitive)

Frontline Primer Infographic

What is it?

The CanadiEM Frontline Primer is intended to supplement and/or refresh knowledge of ED case management; it facilitates a self-directed review of common and critical ED cases, topics, differential diagnoses, online decision aids, online video modules, podcasts and readings As you enter the ED as part of your institution’s COVID-19 Pandemic Emergency Response plan, you may feel it necessary to review emergency medicine resources. 

This Frontline Primer designed to be a one-stop shop for refreshing your emergency medicine basics. We will have some quick hits for helping to refresh key concepts, and link you to resources that we’ve curated to help you with deeper dives when you see fit.

This format should be mobile responsive, and you can even save this link as an icon on the homescreen of your phone. You will probably see the bulk of the patients in the “Fast Track” (low acuity) areas, but we have tried to balance out some other resources to help scaffold your success as you enter (or re-enter) the ED.

We will also be syndicating some of our Frontline Primer posts as CanadiEM content in the coming weeks. Stay tuned for this series on our blog site.

What is included? 

The following topics are currently contained within the CanadiEM frontline primer:

Introduction to the Emergency Department

  • Emergency Medicine Mindset
  • Emergency Department Culture 101

Common Presentations

  • Abdominal Pain
  • Chest pain
  • Dyspnea / Shortness of Breath
  • Back pain
  • Headache
  • Ischemic Stroke
  • Vertigo
  • Fever and Sepsis
  • Skin and Soft Tissue Infections
  • Musculoskeletal (Joint Pain, Soft Tissue Pathology, Common Fractures & Splinting)
  • Early Pregnancy Bleeds and complications
  • Epistaxis
  • Trauma – General Approach
  • Trauma – Isolated Head injury

Emergency Department Skills

  • Handling Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
  • Suturing
  • Incision & Drainage (I&D)
  • Monitors & ECGs
  • ECG Interpretation
  • Clinical Debriefing (“Hot Debrief”)
  • Consulting Other Physicians
  • Safe Handover Practices
  • Safe Discharge
  • Screening for Intimate Partner Violence


  • EM-Specific Canadian Free Open Access Medical Education

Please give us feedback:

Each time you open our file, you will ALWAYS have an option to provide us feedback. If you find our guide useful, it is very easy to give us some suggestions. If not, we would still like your feedback. Trust us, we can take it! Please try to give us feedback about usability each time you access this resource.

It is very simple: From nearly every page (including the front page and from each content page), you will have the option of asking to submit feedback. Please take 1-2 minutes after using this resource to let us know what you enjoyed or how we might make the primer better.

Thank You

Thank you to all of the contributors that helped make and edit the primer submissions. The following people have contributed to making this Frontline Primer a reality:

  • Priyank Bhatnagar* MD (Author only)
  • Jeremy Biro* MD Candidate (Content Curator)
  • Patrick Boreskie* MD (Author only)
  • Luciana Catanese MD [Neurology] (Author only)
  • Teresa Chan MD FRCPC (Author & Editor)
  • Winnie Chan MD FRCPC [Cardiology] (Author only)
  • Yun Kai Chan MD FRCPC [Internal Med]
  • Geoff Comp DO (Author & Editor)
  • Angela Hong Tian Dong (Content Curator)
  • J. Kevin Dong MD CCFP(EM) (Editor only)
  • Alia Dharamsi MD FRCPC (Author only)
  • Eve Purdy* MD (Author only)
  • Colm McCarthy* MD [Orthopedics] (Author & Editor)
  • Tamara McColl MD FRCPC (Author only)
  • Afsheen Mehar* MD (Author & Editor)
  • Ryan O’Reilly* MD candidate (Author & Content Curator)
  • Demetrios Sahlas MD FRCPC [Neurology] (Author only)
  • Kari Sampsel MD FRCPC (Author only)
  • Jonathan Sherbino MD FRCPC (Editor only)
  • Brent Thoma MD FRCPC (Author & Editor)
  • Sonja Wakeling* MD (Editor only)
  • Arthur Welsher* MD (Author only)

* Denotes a trainee author or editor.

P.S. Want a chance to join our team? Check out our Digital Fellowship Program application that was just announced yesterday morning.

Afsheen Mehar

Dr. Afsheen Mehar is a resident physician at the University of Toronto in the RCPSC Emergency Medicine Training Program. Her greatest passions are medical education, POCUS and austere medicine. She holds an RDMS certification in ultrasound.

Kevin Junghwan Dong

Kevin Dong is an Emergency Medicine physician in Hamilton, Ontario. His interests include medical education, mentorship, and producing video/podcasts. He completed the Digital Scholar Fellowship in 2019 and he is currently the CanadiEM Director of Multimedia.

Teresa Chan

Senior Editor at CanadiEM
Emergency Physician. Medical Educator. #FOAMed Supporter, Producer and Researcher. Chief Strategy Officer of CanadiEM. Associate Professor, Division of Emergency Medicine, Department of Medicine, McMaster University.