As outgoing academic chief, one thing I cannot stress enough is that you really need to read during residency.
You cannot just show up for shifts.
You need to do more than listen to EMCrit, and all of the other great sites like Life in the Fast Lane, ERCAST, PHARM, SMARTEM, etc. (I know I left a lot of great sources out -- there are too many to name). Not that you shouldn't read or listen to this stuff, but recognize that the topics covered are generally things that are sexy: interesting, controversial, or very practical or technical tips & tricks. But those are all different than a core curriculum.
And while you should listen to EMCrit etc., that sort of clinical information is not sufficient for board prep nor for core topics, especially the tough/less popular ones that are over-represented on the boards and under-represented in our patients (and nobody likes) like ophtho, derm, and even bread & butter simple illnesses like gastroenteritis.
Other than reading a textbook (which I wish I had done much more of),
top things I think you can do to be both a better doctor & better board prepped: the idea should be to focus on building a foundation of core content, without getting completely distracted by the some of the more fun bells & whistles out there. There are lots of places to find great EM core content curricula; here are some examples:
EM:RAP -- probably the best "core topic" podcast. It comes free with a resident EMRA membership. Worth figuring out how to download. They cover major topics, and last year introduced their "C3" project where they review core topics for board prep.
Read Annals of Emergency Medicine. Every month. You don't need to read it cover to cover, but at least browse through the abstracts & editor reviews. I will admit that at first it seems to cover obscure topics, but after reading for a few months I realized that something relevant from a recent Annals came up every single shift. Articles are picked by the leaders in our specialty, and they're quite good at it. I keep mine in the bathroom and slowly get through it.
Emergency Medical Abstracts -- also free with resident EMRA. great podcast that started in the late 1970s (they used to mail out cassette tapes) by Rick Bukata & Jerry Hoffman (who is probably the most worthwhile EM figure out there). They go through 30 abstracts from recent journals of all stripes, all relevant, and discuss each one for 2-10 minutes, which includes a lot of banter on the topic. A lot of people are put off by the (brief) methodology discussion of each paper but I promise it's worthwhile.
Also: get on national committees. EMRA, ACEP, etc. Easy to get on, little work with huge reward, and most are just a matter of signing up.
- be nice to everyone (it pays off)
- do what's best for the patient (not only is it the right thing to do but you get to win more fights)
- and remember (as Jerry Hoffman says) we have the best job in the world.
And please read.