Patient presentations are the single most important skill to develop for your Emergency Medicine rotation.

General Principles

  • Stay focused, thorough, and organized
  • Write out the basic 8-step presentation for reference

The 8-Step Patient Presentation

  1. Summary statement
    • Demographics
    • Risk factors/Past medical history
    • Chief complaint
  2. History
    • OPQRST
    • Try to give at least 4 descriptors
      • This is for billing reasons
  3. Pertinent positives/negatives
    • Give approximately 5 most pertinent symptoms
  4. Vitals
  5. Physical exam
    • Give approximately 3 MOST pertinent findings
  6. Differential diagnosis
    • Briefly argue for/against
    • Include both most likely and most dangerous
  7. Testing plan
  8. Treatment plan
    • This is the most commonly forgotten step of presentation

Additional Reading

  • Abdominal Pain Presentation – History (EM Clerkship)
  • Abdominal Pain Presentation – Exam, Plan, and Disposition (EM Clerkship)
  • Patient Presentations in Emergency Medicine (EMRA)