Patient Problem Based Learning – new approach to medical classes

Problem based learning bases on solving defined problems found in trigger material. I thought about a way of simple implementation this strategy of learning into clinical practice of teaching my students. As patients are different every time I thought how I can approach the class so the students get the problems to solve which are always relevant to the patients they meet. They are used to the same scheme of asking about first symptoms, then treatment. The approach I proposed to the last batch of medical students this year is PATIENT PROBLEM BASED LEARNING. What is the difference? Each of the students is asked to find problems that the patient faces in different areas of life – medical, drugs and their side effects, psychological, financial, family, access to medical care and other. The problems are not predefined – but rather base on real life issues relevant to the patient. Actually for the first patient we use approach where students set the fields for problem searching – so they chose what they will look for. The students filled questionnaires and were to provide solutions – the ones that patients developed and the ones that they would suggest for the patient. For the teaching physician as me this is also an interesting experience to learn more about the patients. This is a small revolution to the way I teach medicine and we will see how it works next year.

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