Not recruiting at this time

Updated info about the programme is expected April 1st 2022
The description below is from 2018, but left here as rough guide to the content of the programme

Critical emergency medicine should not be mistaken for the medical specialty of emergency medicine well known from Anglo-Saxon countries which focuses on treatment of patients with a wide variety of conditions presenting to the emergency department. In critical emergency medicine, the focus is on patients who have unstable vital signs. In most European health care systems, and certainly in the Scandinavian health care system, anaesthesiologists are involved in the treatment of these patients, including pre-, in- and interhospital.

The aim of the programme is to provide the anaesthesiologist with advanced technical and non-technical skills for first line treatment of critically ill or injured patients of any age group, irrespective of their location, and to aid in the challenging decision making involved in their care. Further the intent is to build knowledge of the systems necessary for provision of such treatment and how to improve those systems through quality assurance programs and research. Considerable focus will be placed on care for patients in the pre-hospital setting.

Program participants

Suitable candidates for the programme are primarily specialists in anaesthesiology who have a documented interest and experience in caring for critically ill or injured patients. Specialists from other specialties may apply but are required to have at least two years of experience in anaesthesiology. All applicants are expected to have a considerable knowledge of resuscitation and life support corresponding to the following standard courses:

  • Trauma: European Trauma Course (ETC) or Advanced Trauma Life Support (ATLS)
  • Resuscitation: Advanced Life Support (ALS) or similar
  • Paediatric resuscitation: Paediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS), European Paediatric Life Support (EPLS) or Advanced Paediatric Life Support (APLS)

Additionally, the following training is desirable:

  • Prehospital Trauma Care: Prehospital Trauma Life Support (PHTLS)
  • Major Incident Management: Any of various courses or local training, e.g. Major Incident Medical Management and Support (MIMMS)
  • Advanced Airway Training on specialist level
  • Experience with working in the prehospital setting is an advantage, but is not a requirement

Applicants must be members of the SSAI (or affiliated members in the case of non-anaesthetists).

Content and format

The programme consists of five components:

  • Four residential courses (Norway, Finland, Sweden, Denmark). Each course is 4 days in duration and focuses on different aspects related to the emergency care of the critical patient, i.e. technical skills, non-technical skills, decision making, and systems knowledge and development. Teaching includes a mix of hands-on technical skill development, case-based problem solving, scenario simulations, mini-lectures, and group discussions.
  • Exchange programme. The participant will organise an exchange period with a department, clinic, or EMS/HEMS service or any combination of these in a different country. The period may be arranged as an exchange, a visit, or a locum position with a foreign clinic or service. Exchanges between Nordic countries are encouraged. The period should ideally be at least 1 month but may be split into smaller segments of at least 1 week duration each. The participant should have a clear goal of what to achieve in the exchange period as well as a plan for how the hosts can help facilitate this. The Exchange Period must be done after the enrolment into SSAI ECC.
  • Distance learning activities, including use of online media, are used as preparation for and follow-up to the courses, as well as continuing literary update on relevant subjects.
  • Scientific project. Each participant is required to do a scientific project which will run through the two years of the programme. The projects can be individual or in groups of up to three participants. The project will be introduced at the first resident module and during each course half a day will be dedicated to the discussion of scientific topics, including a discussion of the participants’ projects. Participants without a PhD are required to submit and get their research project accepted as an abstract/poster to the next biannual SSAI Scientific meeting as a minimum, OR submit the project as a scientific paper to a relevant Pubmed indexed journal. Participants with a PhD can choose to act as supervisors in a project of fellow course participants. For details see description and aims of scientific module.
  • Clinical practice. During the program, the participant must work at least part time in an emergency critical care setting. This can include a university clinic, regional general hospital, a pre-hospital system (HEMS/EMS) or a combination thereof. Candidates are strongly encouraged to spend at least 1 month before or during the program in a prehospital setting. Combining the pre-hospital experience and the exchange program is an option. It is important for the participant to have a written agreement with their host department outlining their participation in the program as well as additional clinical, tutorial, and quality improvement work relevant to the programme during the two years, including time to fulfil the required tasks and assignments.


Upon completion of the programme the participants will be granted the SSAI Diploma in Critical Emergency Medicine. Completion is dependant on the following conditions:

  1. Attendance of all four residential courses.
  2. Completion of 4 weeks of exchange programme
  3. Approval of all mandatory course assignments
  4. Approval of the research project
  5. Completion of 2 years of the clinical practice programme

Further questions before April 2022?

Contact the programme faculty at