Council on Medical Student Education in Pediatrics


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COMSEP 2010 Albuquerque Meeting


Suresh Nagappan, MD, University of North Carolina, Moses Cone Pediatric Teaching Program, Greensboro, NC

Background: The oral presentation, a critical skill for third year medical students, often receives little formal attention. Previous studies have focused on using various learning modalities (videos, pocket cards, guidelines) to help students master the basic oral presentation structure. There is little in the literature, however, focusing on helping students interpret data, exclude extraneous information, and create a meaningful story. These skills distinguish the oral presentation from the written history and physical. As Lingard noted, teaching students to talk about medical cases teaches them to think about how to care for patients. Objective: To determine if students improve their oral presentation performance after a teaching session focusing on interpretation of data. Methods: Pediatric faculty at our institution reviewed sample written cases and indicated which information was most pertinent and should be presented on rounds and which omitted. A consensus document was created based on the responses. Third year pediatric clerkship medical students then analyzed the same cases and presented the data that they explicitly decided were worth including. A detailed discussion followed in which students compared their presentations with the faculty consensus document. The students were then encouraged to practice this skill during inpatient rounds. Results/Plans for Evaluation: In verbal feedback, students expressed gratitude for more formal rules to focus their presentations, as opposed to general exhortations to be more brief. Ongoing program evaluation includes the percentage of students whose oral presentations were rated at the honors level (eight or nine out of nine) on the standard evaluation by supervising residents and attendings (compared to a historical control). Future evaluation could include measuring the change in the percentage of phrases that students correctly include and correctly exclude between the initial teaching session and the end-of-clerkship exercise. This percentage change can be compared with that of a concurrent control group at a separate clerkship rotation site. Discussion: A teaching session focusing on interpretation skills is one approach to help students improve oral presentations. Future data can help determine if such a session can be a useful addition to the clerkship curriculum.