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.

Mazlyn Mustapha

19 hrs ·

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.

Here are some of the more interesting comments:
Simon ThompsonIs this taught in medical school?
Encik SaifuddinUsually they expect u to know without telling u. So this help a lot. 😬😬
Mazlyn MustaphaIndirectly.
I am emphasizing on certain things which a lot of students have difficulty putting into practice.
Nor Azwany YaacobIts been taught but it need practice to master it. So it need reminders..
Felix ChongSpeak clearly and loudly, as most of the examiners are hard of hearing. 😉
Fahitah Hanipah be confident

Aman Jpm Usm ·

Exactly how it should be done…. and extra points should be given if able to point out pt’s concern.
Additional points that I would add:
  • 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:
“This is day 2 admission”.
“The chest pain began 2 hours before presentation to the emergency department”.
“There is a history of previous admission to ICU for acute asthma exacerbation 3 years ago”.
  • Do not say:
“Symptoms began on Monday”.
“The previous admission was in June 2015”.
  • 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.