Presenting At Chest

4.3 Use effective listening, observational, and communication techniques in all professional interactions

4.6 Effectively prepare and deliver educational materials to individuals and groups.


I was leaving my longitudinal preceptorship during the spring of my first year when my preceptor asked me if I could switch my next shift and come in during an afternoon when one particular patient of his would be coming to clinic. He wanted me to meet her and asked if I would be interested in writing up her case for the upcoming Chest meeting. I enthusiastically agreed to switch my shift. I was thrilled at having the opportunity to write up a case for a meeting. When I got home, I started thinking more about it, and I realized that I had no idea how to write up a case. I started to do some research and read a lot of case write-ups online.

The patient had granulomatous lymphocytic interstitial lung disease in the setting of combined variable immunodeficiency disorder (CVID). We were in the middle of the cardio-pulmonary block, so I had learned a little about interstitial lung diseases and had received some teaching from my preceptor about interstitial lung diseases working in a pulmonary medicine clinic. However, I knew nothing about CVID. We wouldn’t start our host defense block until December, and it was only February! After doing some research and talking things over with my preceptor, I felt comfortable in my knowledge base to start the case write-up.

Over the next month, I did a lot of independent learning on the disease states. My preceptor and I had many check-ins with my abstract over the next month. We would meet virtually to go over things on the weekends. I was constantly asking questions about the order in which I would present things, and was I using the correct medical terminology here? After many edits, I submitted the abstract. A few months later, we found out that it had been accepted for a slide presentation! My preceptor was so excited that it was going to be slides, but inside I was even more nervous knowing that I would have to stand up at a podium and address a room full of people instead of standing next to my poster in a sea of other posters, answering questions individuals had as they passed through. I’m a very nervous public speaker so this was a tall order.

As the conference drew closer, I prepared my slides with the help and guidance of my preceptor. I practiced my presentation for my roommate, my boyfriend, some of my friends, and my parents over the phone. I had a dress rehearsal presentation at my preceptor’s office a week before the trip. We made sure all of my slide transitions worked and I got feedback on my delivery from his colleagues.

The morning of my presentation, I stepped out into the Texas air and headed to the convention center. My presentation wasn’t until later in the day, so I had plenty of time to stress about it. Throughout the day I was introduced to my preceptor’s mentors, friends from residency, and people who trained under him. I had never been to a national meeting before, and I was delighted by all of the different booths, people to speak to, medical devices to look at, and new technologies to try out. I practiced my presentation once more with my preceptor, and then, finally, it was time to present. I’m sure I talked a little quicker due to my nerves, but overall, I felt that my presentation went well! On the way out of the room, I was stopped by one of the internal medicine chief residents at Ohio State who told me what a wonderful job I had done!

Weeks later, I received an email from Chest that I had won the award for best slide presentation in my category! I was beyond thrilled that I was able to clearly present the case and answer questions that the audience had, and I had done it well!

Two years after that, I got an email from my preceptor asking if I would help two of his LP students write up cases for Chest. I immediately agreed because I remember how lost I felt when I was writing up my own case. I would have really appreciated having a medical student who had done it before and was familiar with the case read things over for me and answer my questions. Over the course of the following month, exchanged edits with my peers (an M1 and M2) and had meetings with our preceptor to check in on our progress. I saw so much of my younger self in the M1. Some of his word order and word choice sounded “off” because he hadn’t yet spent much time in clinical situations observing and listening to residents and attendings and reading progress notes. These things which also once seemed so foreign to me now seemed so natural. In total for Chest 2020, we had three abstracts accepted to the virtual meeting.

Through this experience of writing up my own case and then being able to assist other students with their own helped me to further develop my communication skills. I had to communicate with all of the physicians involved in my patient’s care to see if they had written up the case previously. I improved my medical writing and was able to critique and improve my peers’. All that I had learned from my experience attending the conference previously by listening to and seeing poster presentations, I was able to share with my peers.

As a resident, I would like to help the medical students that I work with improve their own medical writing and presentation skills. While I’m not sure how much time I’ll be spending teaching medical students on some rotations during my intern year, I would like to make an effort of helping each student with either their oral patient presentations on rounds or with their note writing during my time as a resident. During intern year, I imagine being a little more overwhelmed with my own responsibilities, so I’d like to assist approximately

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