Residency

Preparing a didactic presentation

Residency Program Insider, September 12, 2006

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Preparing a didactic presentation

Preparing a formal presentation to deliver to your peers and attendings can be a very intimidating task for a resident, especially for the first time. Your goal should be to develop a high quality interactive presentation that provides a state of the art update on the topic. This includes 3-5 critical "take home" points that you'd like your audience to remember six months later.

Become an expert. When you begin the process of building your presentation, become an expert in that area. If you have any impact in the selection of a topic, consider taking one that makes you feel uncomfortable, and maximize your potential for personal growth. Start by reviewing the text information on the topic. Perform a "learner's needs assessment" by asking your colleagues and faculty what areas they would like to hear about.

Check your sources. Next, perform a literature search and cross-reference it with the bibliography in the text chapters. If you missed a sizable number of the text chapter citations, ask the search librarian for assistance in your search. Review these references and critically apprise any that will be used in your presentation. Investigate costs and charges for diagnostic tests, therapies and medications. I call local pharmacies to ascertain charges to patients for medications, and our inpatient pharmacy for inpatient/department costs and charges.

Create a lesson plan. This is not an outline of the topic, or a reprint of power point slides. It is a description of what you will teach over your allotted time and how you will teach the information. Decide what the key 3-5 take home points are and build your lesson plan around these.

Develop a delivery method. Will you use PowerPoint, overhead, dry erase board, or nothing? Will special audiovisual resources be needed? If so, arrange months ahead of time. Introduce yourself and your topic. Do not apologize for your topic. Instead, show them why paying attention will reap rewards for your audience. For example, "Statistically, 1 in 5 of you will be successfully sued within 5 years of graduation for failing to make this diagnosis . . . " is a statement that will be sure to catch residents' attention.

Finally, get out from behind the podium and interact with the audience. Ask leading questions, solicit perspectives, and use "real life" vignettes. Humor is great if it ties into the presentation, is not used excessively and is tasteful.

All the best,


Carey D. Chisholm, MD

Director, IU-Methodist Emergency Medicine Residency Program
Clinical Professor of Emergency Medicine
Indiana University School of Medicine
Indianapolis, IN.



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