Clinical presentations

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Clinical Presentations

  • Clear
  • Concise
  • Interesting
  • Summarise
  • Conclude

You can approach this as a practical procedure with absolutely essential skills that are harder to gain than venepuncture. It is complementary to consulting skills and many careers in medicine depend upon it. You should decide the message(s) you want to present, and work backwards in deciding how they come together


The 'Bedside' Presentation

LogoKeyPointsBox.pngHints for Clinical Presentations
  • Don't forget to mention the obvious and important - 'The Prime Minister developed palpitations at... '
  • Tailor for audience - an orthopaedic surgeon wants to know about the broken bone but very soon thereafter that the patient is on warfarin and demented

The skills required are:

  • Communication
    • Good Command of English
      • Actor and Actress skills command in premium in higher exams
    • Structured verbal presentation with adaptability
      • Important positives and negatives leading to clinching diagnosis is the premium product
    • Use jargon to be concise and accurate
      • 'dominant hemisphere left middle cerebral artery territory stroke' rather than 'CVA with right hemiplegia, dysphasia and right quadrantic field deficit'
    • Use of jargon in wrong context is not a good idea
      • This CXR shows consolidation of the right lung (when CXR shows pneumothorax of left lung so you are going to be asked for the radiographic evidence for consolidation)....increased shadowing might be safer !
  • Adequate Knowledge
  • Summarise and conclude

The 'Organised' Presentation

  • Black Text on White Background is still the standard to beat
  • Try for 5 points on a slide and 2 minutes a slide (hard to do).
  • Minimise animation and sound effects
  • Complex tables and data go in handouts (or graphs)
  • Talk slowly
  • Engage all the audience with eye contact
    • use this engage time to check for the glazed and bored looks that tell you the level to pitch your presentation
  • Know both the clinical case and major differential diagnosis
  • Use content of slides as prompts - The audience can read faster than you can talk
  • Presention of your review of literature based on a text book of medicine is just asking for trouble - the senior consultants have not read a text book for 15 to 20 years (unless they are writing or reviewing one) but they will know the advances in managing the condition in the last 5 years which are not in the text books.
  • Handouts for late arrivals and to help with complex information

The 'Exam' Presentation

LogoWarningBox4.pngBad scenarios
  • reading aloud another's work as one's own (eg regurgitation of someone else's clerking when you have not seen patient)
  • slide out of order
  • spelling mistakes not admitted as such
  • unexplained abbreviations
  • no conclusion/diagnostic formulation
  • Actor and Actress skills as above - this includes examination skills presented for show and tailored to the scenario
  • Admit it, if you suddenly realise you said nonsense...they know how anxious you are

The 'Big' Presentation

  • As for the organised presentation but practice till perfect. Can you do ad lib when projector bulb blows ? You can if you have prepared for this worse case scenario.
  • Nasty question from the audience from Prof X who totally disagrees with your Prof's model of the universe and everything - deflect if possible to greater expertise of your Prof if they are in Audience (thus implying to audience you too know they hate each other and to your Prof that he/she has greater expertise)...HINT - if you are on the make to be a Prof in your own right and you can demolish Prof X hook line and sinker so he never will referee one of your papers you may act as you see fit.