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Tips on EM presentations skills

Michael Pasirstein MD


Students have already had a few years of being taught by other departments how to do an oral presentation, but it may not be applicable to EM.

Majority of the student and resident educational interactions with attending physicians in EM occur during oral presentation.

Student evaluation is directly linked to how well the student presents.

About the article

The authors are using their success to assist learners present all pertinent information in under 4 minutes

History of the Oral presentation

Earliest mention of the oral presentation is from the dean of the New Orleans Medical School, Erasmus Fenner, in 1846, though it seems intuitive that doctors and learners have been communicating with oral presentations much longer than about 200 years.

In 2003, the SNAPPS format of presentations was developed at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. This format was designed for outpatient oral presentations. The SNAPPS method focuses on

  • brief patient summaries
  • Narrowing DDx of 2-3 etiologies
  • Analyzing information to determine the most likely cause of chief complaint
  • Probing the attending for knowledge
  • Planning pt management
  • Selecting an issue for self-directed learning

Students noted that:

Effective presenters alter the way they present but had difficulty describing how, making it difficult for novices to mimic



The origins of the oral presentation and the recent studies noted previously are not EM specific

In EM we:

  • Assume every patient has an emergent condition
  • Have multiple undifferentiated patients at once
  • Prioritize patients
  • Have incomplete patient data


EM Oral Presentations – How are we different?

  • CC
  • HPI
  • Meds/allergies
  • PE
  • Summary statement
  • Assessment and plan

What is minimized are

  • PMHx,
  • PSHx
  • Soc Hx
  • FmHx
  • ROS

Essentially, the HPI should include all the pertinent information from those areas that are minimized.

Earlier learners will still have items that are positive in the ROS, as they may not be aware of what is pertinent and what is not.

To further improve speed, the student should include only pertinent positives and negatives on physical exam.

The 3 Minute Emergency Medicine Medical Student Presentation: A variation on a theme.


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