EM Program Overview

About Our Facility

The Emergency Department is located within the main HCMC campus, which spans five city blocks in downtown Minneapolis next to the new US Bank Stadium and Downtown East Commons park. We handle cases at all levels of severity, including day-to-day emergencies and disaster response. We also provide the entire spectrum of care for injured patients, from pre-hospital care and transport through rehabilitation. The emergency department is divided into 3 team centers. Team center A has the highest acuity and 15 beds. Team center B has moderate acuity and 12 beds + eye and dental rooms. Team center C has lower acuity and pediatrics with 12 beds.

HCMC dusk

What Sets Hennepin Apart?

Few programs offer the hands-on critical care experience, resident autonomy and access to state-of-the-art medical technology as the Emergency Medicine Residency at HCMC. Launched in 1972, our program is the second-oldest in the U.S. and is still at the forefront of critical care education and training. The following aspects of training at HCMC are strengths that set it apart from other programs.

The Pit-boss Role

HCMC provides the unique opportunity for senior emergency medicine residents to have a strong supervisory role. During the first and second year, residents serve as a primary medical provider (PMP). In team centers A and B, PMPs staff their patients with a third year resident “Pit boss”. During the third year, residents serve as a Pit Boss in team centers A and B, and as PMPs in team center C. Pit Boss shifts (about 80% of third year shifts) are spent running stabilization cases and managing the patients in a 12-15 bed team center through supervision of PMPs. All stabilization cases (including all trauma cases) are managed by an emergency medicine third year resident (or second year resident on the ortho/resuscitation rotation) with faculty supervision.

From day one, residents assume critical decision-making responsibilities in a supportive, collaborative, and fast-paced environment. Residents interact with dedicated faculty and provide care to a diverse population that includes both urban and underserved individuals, as well as trauma patients from across Minnesota and neighboring states.

Procedural Training

HCMC has had emergency resident training since 1972. Territory battles for emergency medicine, which many facilities are still fighting, are in the past at HCMC. Simply put, patients in the emergency department are managed by emergency medicine. Consultants are a welcome and important aspect of patient care, but they do not “take over” any aspect of care in the emergency department unless they are requested to do so by the patient’s emergency medicine provider. Intubation, central line placement, fracture/dislocation reduction and splinting, paracentesis, lumbar puncture, thoracentesis, thoracostomy (chest tube), and many other procedures are all performed by emergency medicine residents first and foremost. Stabilization case intubations are performed by third year emergency medicine residents with assistance from emergency faculty. The emergency medicine faculty are the airway experts of the hospital; anesthesia does not perform airway intervention in the emergency department.


HCMC is simply unmatched when it comes to emergency ultrasound. HCMC was the birthplace of emergency ultrasound in 1985, and HCMC faculty authored some of the first publications describing how emergency physicians can use point-of-care ultrasound to improve patient care. We have five faculty who are ultrasound experts.  Each stabilization bay has a mounted Mindray TE7 touchscreen ultrasound machine. The team centers use 6 mobile Zonare ZS3, 6 mobile Mindray M9, and 2 mobile Toshiba Aplio 300 (with cardiac spectral tracking) machines. Several other rooms also have mounted ultrasounds machines.

ultrasound bay


Emergency Department Facts

  • A premier Level I Adult and Pediatric Trauma Center, Stroke Center
  • More than 100,000 visits and 72,000 ambulance runs annually
  • Department renovated in 1999
  • Includes 57 examination rooms and four stabilization rooms
  • >15 mobile ultrasound machines with full wireless connectivity plus mounted ultrasounds in stabilization bays and several other rooms
  • 2 dedicated CT scanners and complete digital medical imaging system
  • Newly renovated (2016-17) triage area including 8 treatment rooms
  • Dedicated resident work area
  • Electronic Health Records and fully integrated Epic system with Dragon dictation available
  • Dedicated computer access at all clerical, nursing and physician workstations