“As I was preparing, I was trying to think: what am I most interested in about this case?” First-year resident Dr. Jenny Strouse said during the question-and-answer session following her case report titled “Short of Breath and Blood.”
Dr. Strouse’s was one of 25 presentations delivered on Wednesday afternoon before a panel of faculty judges at the American College of Physicians Resident Clinical Vignette Competition. Every year, as part of the ACP National Abstract Competition, the Iowa Chapter must decide on which finalists to send to the national ACP Internal Medicine Meeting. Next year’s event will be in San Diego at the end of March. This year, in order to accommodate all the residents who wanted to participate, two teams of four judges observed, took notes, and questioned the presenters. The finalists then presented again on Friday before a new panel of judges.
Armed with nothing more than a handful of PowerPoint slides, each resident has only ten minutes to describe a battery of factors in a patient, their decisions and rationales, and the outcomes and more general explanations for what they had encountered. Their presentations run the gamut from unusual cardiac events to overlooked pharmaceutical side effects or rheumatologic mysteries. Dr. Austin Knott (R3) described an encounter with a patient with alcoholism experiencing dangerously abnormal levels of magnesium. “Fevers of Unknown Origin” was the title of Dr. Shaun Fernandes’s (R2) abstract of a patient with adult-onset Still’s disease. Dr. Rebecca Klein (R3) walked her audience through a report on a patient struggling with the intersection of depression and Graves’ disease.
Not every case report has a happy ending, but each resident demonstrates what they have learned and what larger principles they will use in future patient encounters. And, as with any seminar, class session, or grand rounds, audience members have the same opportunity to internalize those lessons for their own clinical practice. For the residents, the case reports can have slightly more impact because these come from their peers.
In the end, first place was awarded to Dr. Casey Adams for “Rashes Really Aren’t So Sweet” and second place to Dr. Ruth Fernandez-Ruiz for “Anemia and Thrombocytopenia in Acute Pancreatitis.” The other two finalists chosen to present on Friday were Dr. Nicole Grogan and Dr. Jenny Strouse. Congratulations!
Congratulations also to all the residents on their hard work in preparing and presenting at this year’s competition. And, thank you to all our faculty judges for donating their time and input.