Yesterday, I wrote a brief note on some tips for presenting cases, based recent experience the past few weeks.
Quite a few people shared it including other lecturers and professors, so I thought I might as well save it here.
Tips for medical students:
When presenting during bedside teaching or teaching ward-rounds…
1) Speak to the whole audience, not just the consultant or lecturer you are presenting to.
2) If you did not obtain the whole history from the patient, state it at the beginning of the presentation, giving reasons (why you needed another source for the collateral history).
3) After the history and physical examination findings, it is useful to quickly summarize the case in 1-2 lines, followed by a list of differential diagnoses, or a working diagnosis followed by 2-3 other possible diagnoses, giving reasons.
4) A summary includes the age and gender of the patient, followed by 2-3 of the main presenting complaint/s and 2-3 main physical examination findings, either positive or negative. You should be able to summarize a case in 1-2 sentence/s.
5) State the more common conditions first in the list of the differential diagnosis, if you have reason to include a rare condition in the differential, state that you are aware it is a rare condition (and give reasons why you are considering it as a differential).
6) When you are suggesting a plan of action, including investigations, it makes more sense to list the investigations according to the list of differentials you had mentioned before.
7) For each investigation, state the reason it is performed (what you are looking for) and also what you expect to find.
8) When describing the management, unless in emergency situations, (which should then begin with ABC’s), start with non-pharmacological intervention/s first, and then the pharmacological intervention/s.
Hope this helps.
- It’s best to tell the story in a narrative, with a clear timeline. What I mean by this is, referring to today, this moment, at T=0, and any event in relation to T=0 (time equals zero, which is the time of presentation).
- Use sentences like:
- Do not say:
- The simple reason is, the audience will then have to do simple mental arithmetic to work out the duration of illness, and steal attention from your story.