November 22, 2013

WSU's Nathaniel Hunt wins top student presentation award at emergency medicine conference

A former nurse now attending the Wayne State University School of Medicine won top honors for his presentation at the Society of Academic Emergency Medicine Regional Conference in Akron, Ohio.

Nathaniel Hunt, a second-year medical student, received the Best Medical Student Presentation award for his oral delivery Nov. 8 of the study "Surviving Septic Shock: Do Delays in Obtaining Adequate Vascular Access Prevent Appropriate Early Resuscitation?"

"It was a great honor. I was not expecting to win," Hunt said. "(I) didn't know there were even awards for medical students. I was proud to be able to represent my group's work well."

WSU Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine James Paxton, M.D., was the lead investigator on the study, which looked at whether these delays impact patient care outcomes. Dr. Paxton worked with Hunt when the student was an emergency department nurse at the Detroit Medical Center's Sinai-Grace Hospital. Hunt was a research assistant on the project team.

"We are all very proud and excited to see Nate hit one out of the park on his first at-bat," he said. "Not every medical student gets to present research at a regional or national conference, and very few will win this type of award during their medical school career. He is a natural public speaker and kept his cool despite some very challenging questions from the audience.

"I am sure that the judges saw some merit in the subject matter, but I suspect that his public speaking talent, coolness under pressure - a trait that I'm sure he perfected while working as a nurse in the emergency department - and familiarity with the study data are what really earned this award for him," Dr. Paxton added.

He is director of emergency medicine research at Sinai-Grace, and asked Hunt to present "because I felt that it would be a valuable opportunity for him as an emerging clinical researcher," he said. "As far as I am aware, this was Nate's first oral presentation at a large research conference, and I was sure this would be a memorable experience for him."

Hunt has been involved in the study since data collection began in July, and was selected as a research assistant for the project because of his experience with the DMC/WSU electronic medical record system, medical knowledge and interest in the subject matter.

"He has proven to be a great addition to the team, and performed a large amount of the data collection and analysis himself," Dr. Paxton said. "His previous experience as a SGH nurse undoubtedly enhanced his ability to efficiently extract the needed data from the EMR. Nate is a bright, energetic young man who brings a great deal of talent and enthusiasm to the project."

Hunt talked himself out of medical school throughout nursing school, he said.

"Once I started working as a nurse I found myself wanting more information, more knowledge and more leadership ability. I like making decisions and being the point person for patient care. I also have an insatiable craving for knowledge, so I went back to school," he said.

He earned a bachelor's degree in nursing from the University of Michigan in 2009 and was most recently a nurse at St. Mary's in Livonia before starting medical school. The Canton resident plans to pursue a career in emergency medicine following his expected graduation in 2016.