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Research Article  |   February 1998
Clinical Reasoning Case Studies as Teaching Tools
Author Affiliations
  • Maureen E. Neistadt, ScD, OTR/L, FAOTA, is Associate Professor, Occupational Therapy Department, School of Health and Human Services, University of New Hampshire, Hewitt Hall, 4 Library Way, Durham, New Hampshire 03824-3563
  • Jennifer Wight, is Student, Occupational Therapy Department, School of Health and Human Services, University of New Hampshire, Durham, New Hampshire
  • Shelley E. Mulligan, MS, OTR/L, is Assistant Professor, Occupational Therapy Department, School of Health and Human Services. University of New Hampshire, Dutham, New Hampshire
Article Information
Geriatrics/Productive Aging / Education of OTs and OTAs / Education
Research Article   |   February 1998
Clinical Reasoning Case Studies as Teaching Tools
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, February 1998, Vol. 52, 125-132. doi:10.5014/ajot.52.2.125
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, February 1998, Vol. 52, 125-132. doi:10.5014/ajot.52.2.125
Abstract

Objective. Students are taught how to apply clinical reasoning methods through a variety of teaching methods, including the use of case studies. Various types of case studies have been described in the literature: paper cases, videotape cases, simulated client cases, and real client cases. This study examined the effectiveness of a new type of paper case study—the clinical reasoning case study—in teaching the clinical reasoning process to occupational therapy students.

Method. Four seniors in an undergraduate occupational therapy program completed intervention plans in response to both traditional medical model and clinical reasoning paper case studies. Qualitative methods were used to analyze intervention plans and videotaped discussion about this learning experience.

Results. Themes discovered in the data sources suggest that compared with traditional case studies, the clinical reasoning case studies increased the quality of participants’ intervention plans, participants’ confidence levels about their plans, and participants’ understanding of the clinical reasoning process. Participants also reported preferring clinical reasoning case studies over traditional paper case studies.

Conclusion. The clinical reasoning case studies are effective teaching tools because they provide students with a holistic picture of the client and his or her occupational therapy treatment. In addition, these case studies model the clinical reasoning process by organizing client information according to the types of clinical reasoning that would be used to gather that information. Occupational therapy educators may find this type of paper case study useful in introducing students to the intervention planning process.