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  • Volume 21, Issue 1
  • What is a case study?
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  • Roberta Heale 1 ,
  • Alison Twycross 2
  • 1 School of Nursing , Laurentian University , Sudbury , Ontario , Canada
  • 2 School of Health and Social Care , London South Bank University , London , UK
  • Correspondence to Dr Roberta Heale, School of Nursing, Laurentian University, Sudbury, ON P3E2C6, Canada; rheale{at}laurentian.ca


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What is it?

Case study is a research methodology, typically seen in social and life sciences. There is no one definition of case study research. 1 However, very simply… ‘a case study can be defined as an intensive study about a person, a group of people or a unit, which is aimed to generalize over several units’. 1 A case study has also been described as an intensive, systematic investigation of a single individual, group, community or some other unit in which the researcher examines in-depth data relating to several variables. 2

Often there are several similar cases to consider such as educational or social service programmes that are delivered from a number of locations. Although similar, they are complex and have unique features. In these circumstances, the evaluation of several, similar cases will provide a better answer to a research question than if only one case is examined, hence the multiple-case study. Stake asserts that the cases are grouped and viewed as one entity, called the quintain . 6  ‘We study what is similar and different about the cases to understand the quintain better’. 6

The steps when using case study methodology are the same as for other types of research. 6 The first step is defining the single case or identifying a group of similar cases that can then be incorporated into a multiple-case study. A search to determine what is known about the case(s) is typically conducted. This may include a review of the literature, grey literature, media, reports and more, which serves to establish a basic understanding of the cases and informs the development of research questions. Data in case studies are often, but not exclusively, qualitative in nature. In multiple-case studies, analysis within cases and across cases is conducted. Themes arise from the analyses and assertions about the cases as a whole, or the quintain, emerge. 6

Benefits and limitations of case studies

If a researcher wants to study a specific phenomenon arising from a particular entity, then a single-case study is warranted and will allow for a in-depth understanding of the single phenomenon and, as discussed above, would involve collecting several different types of data. This is illustrated in example 1 below.

Using a multiple-case research study allows for a more in-depth understanding of the cases as a unit, through comparison of similarities and differences of the individual cases embedded within the quintain. Evidence arising from multiple-case studies is often stronger and more reliable than from single-case research. Multiple-case studies allow for more comprehensive exploration of research questions and theory development. 6

Despite the advantages of case studies, there are limitations. The sheer volume of data is difficult to organise and data analysis and integration strategies need to be carefully thought through. There is also sometimes a temptation to veer away from the research focus. 2 Reporting of findings from multiple-case research studies is also challenging at times, 1 particularly in relation to the word limits for some journal papers.

Examples of case studies

Example 1: nurses’ paediatric pain management practices.

One of the authors of this paper (AT) has used a case study approach to explore nurses’ paediatric pain management practices. This involved collecting several datasets:

Observational data to gain a picture about actual pain management practices.

Questionnaire data about nurses’ knowledge about paediatric pain management practices and how well they felt they managed pain in children.

Questionnaire data about how critical nurses perceived pain management tasks to be.

These datasets were analysed separately and then compared 7–9 and demonstrated that nurses’ level of theoretical did not impact on the quality of their pain management practices. 7 Nor did individual nurse’s perceptions of how critical a task was effect the likelihood of them carrying out this task in practice. 8 There was also a difference in self-reported and observed practices 9 ; actual (observed) practices did not confirm to best practice guidelines, whereas self-reported practices tended to.

Example 2: quality of care for complex patients at Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinics (NPLCs)

The other author of this paper (RH) has conducted a multiple-case study to determine the quality of care for patients with complex clinical presentations in NPLCs in Ontario, Canada. 10 Five NPLCs served as individual cases that, together, represented the quatrain. Three types of data were collected including:

Review of documentation related to the NPLC model (media, annual reports, research articles, grey literature and regulatory legislation).

Interviews with nurse practitioners (NPs) practising at the five NPLCs to determine their perceptions of the impact of the NPLC model on the quality of care provided to patients with multimorbidity.

Chart audits conducted at the five NPLCs to determine the extent to which evidence-based guidelines were followed for patients with diabetes and at least one other chronic condition.

The three sources of data collected from the five NPLCs were analysed and themes arose related to the quality of care for complex patients at NPLCs. The multiple-case study confirmed that nurse practitioners are the primary care providers at the NPLCs, and this positively impacts the quality of care for patients with multimorbidity. Healthcare policy, such as lack of an increase in salary for NPs for 10 years, has resulted in issues in recruitment and retention of NPs at NPLCs. This, along with insufficient resources in the communities where NPLCs are located and high patient vulnerability at NPLCs, have a negative impact on the quality of care. 10

These examples illustrate how collecting data about a single case or multiple cases helps us to better understand the phenomenon in question. Case study methodology serves to provide a framework for evaluation and analysis of complex issues. It shines a light on the holistic nature of nursing practice and offers a perspective that informs improved patient care.

  • Gustafsson J
  • Calanzaro M
  • Sandelowski M

Competing interests None declared.

Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

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The Classroom | Empowering Students in Their College Journey

How to Present a Nursing Case Study

What Is a Case Study in Nursing?

What Is a Case Study in Nursing?

A nursing case study is an in-depth examination of a situation that a nurse encounters in her daily practice. The case study offers a safe way for the nurse to apply theoretical and actual knowledge to an actual or potential patient scenario. She can employ her decision-making skills, use critical thinking to analyze the situation, and develop cognitive reasoning abilities without harming a patient. Nursing case studies are commonly used in undergraduate nursing programs, graduate schools offering a master’s of science degree in nursing (MSN), and orientation programs for new graduate nurses. They may be presented in written form, online, or live in a classroom setting.

Choose a topic. According to Sigma Theta Tau International, the topic should be focused, based in reality, and relevant. It should demonstrate current best practices that are supported by nursing research. The nurse may choose to discuss a situation from his past experience, or delve into something in his current job.

Write objectives. There should be at least three learning objectives, or outcomes, that identify what the learner will gain from completing the case study. Learning objectives are written as clear, measurable behaviors, such as “Identify five risk factors for falls in older adults.”

Write an introduction. This should be a one- or two-paragraph overview that describes the patient, the situation, and circumstances relevant to that situation. The introduction can also include a little about the patient’s history leading up to the situation.

Integrate more history and background. The next 1 to 2 paragraphs provide the learner with in-depth information to analyze the situation, such as lab values, diagnostic study results, findings from the nurse’s assessment of the patient, and a more detailed patient history.

Formulate questions. Nursing case studies are interactive scenarios that stimulate analysis and critical thinking. The questions typically require the learner to use the nursing process (assessment, nursing diagnosis, planning, intervention, and evaluation) and to anticipate what will happen next in the situation.

Give feedback. According to Sigma Theta Tau, the nursing case study provides the learner with two types of feedback: informational and reinforcing. Informational feedback lets the learner know if she has answered questions correctly, and gives her an idea of how she is progressing through the patient scenario. Reinforcing feedback gives the learner additional information about her responses to the questions. If she answers the question correctly, she’ll be given the rationale behind her right answer. If she gives the wrong answer, reinforcing feedback lets her know why that answer is wrong.

Provide references. It’s important to point the learner toward additional learning opportunities in print or on the web.

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  • Sigma Theta Tau International

Sandy Keefe, M.S.N., R.N., has been a freelance writer for over five years. Her articles have appeared in numerous health-related magazines, including "Advance for Nurses" and "Advance for Long-Term Care Management." She has written short stories in anthologies such as "A Cup of Comfort for Parents of Children with Special Needs."

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Case 1: Introduction and Instructions

Care of an older adult with impaired perfusion in a community setting, scenario introduction.

The goal of this virtual case-based scenario is to promote participants’ clinical reasoning and decision-making when providing community-based care for an older adult living with heart disease, atrial fibrillation, and hypertension. Participants will assess a client, identify priority problems, formulate and implement a nursing plan, and evaluate the plan. The virtual scenario provides entry-level BSN students with an experience of working with a client in an acute medical setting.

  • Chronic Disease Management
  • Clinical Judgement
  • Communication
  • Pharmacology

Community Setting, Healthy Heart Day Program

Level of Participant

Entry-level (year 1 or 2)

Completion Time

Varied, up to 3 hours

  • Pre-Learning: Varied depending on the knowledge students have prior to engaging in the scenario. Completing all activities in their entirety may take up to 2 hours.
  • Scenario: Allow for about 30 minutes to complete the activity.
  • Reflection: Allow for about 30 minutes to complete the activity.

Learning Objectives

By the end of this scenario, participants will be able to do the following in a virtual case-based scenario:

  • Perform prioritized focused assessments for a client with heart disease, atrial fibrillation, and hypertension, in a community-based setting, to inform a plan of care that follows BCCNM practice standards.
  • Interpret assessment findings related to the concept of perfusion for a client with heart disease and atrial fibrillation to enhance medication safety.
  • Communicate effectively with an older adult experiencing anxiety in a community-based setting to enhance a therapeutic relationship.


  • Complete each section in the order it is presented.
  • After completing the pre-brief and pre-learning, you will find a short scenario to work through with decision-making questions. You can go through the scenario as many times as you would like.
  • After you complete the scenario, work through the post-scenario activities.
  • Your role is to assume all aspects of a practicing nurse’s professional behavior as if caring for a client in the clinical setting. However, work within your scope of practice as a student nurse.
  • Several aspects of the scenario may be limited in realism and when a gap occurs between simulated reality and actual reality, act according to the goals of the learning session.
  • These scenarios follow what is known as the Basic Assumption™  of simulation, meaning that it is believed that you are intelligent, capable, and want to do your best to improve your skills. [1]
  • © Copyright 2004-2022 Center for Medical Simulation , Boston, Massachusetts, USA. [email protected] All Rights Reserved – Used with permission . ↵

Nursing Virtual Case Studies by Adrianna D'Ilio and Amanda Egert is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

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Case Study #2: Pneumonia

Learning Objectives

Case 2 describes a patient’s experience of COPD exacerbation due to community acquired pneumonia. The patient in this case study has a complicated health history. The interprofessional collaboration is role modelled between nursing, medical radiology, medical laboratory, and health care workers in the emergency department.

Learners reviewing this case can consider how pneumonia affects COPD. Additionally this case offers opportunity for discussion on supporting families both in the Emergency Department and acute medicine areas. The interprofessional collaboration is ideal and offers opportunities for further discussion on why the collaboration works so well and what barriers would prevent ideal collaboration.

Note: The story told here is used in case 1 and case 2. The simpler version in case 1 can be used to teach novice students about health case studies. Case 2 reintroduces the patient from case 1 and expands her story with more details for more advanced study.

In this case, learners have an opportunity to:

  • Review etiological factors (i.e., risk factors, prevalence, co­morbidities) associated with respiratory disease
  • ‪Build knowledge related to the patient’s experience of respiratory insufficiency, including  COPD and pneumonia
  • ‪Continue to develop comprehensive assessment and monitoring skills and abilities (e.g., relevant abnormal physical assessment findings, ABGs, lab, and diagnostic data)
  • ‪Consider the links between evidence-based knowledge and practice in the care of patients with pneumonia (e.g., CAP guidelines)
  • ‪Recommend interventions based on the risk factors, status, and progression of  pneumonia (e.g., antibiotic therapy, oxygen therapy)
  • ‪Define the roles of health care professionals and the contributions they make to the healthcare team (or describe your own role and the roles of those in other professions)

Health Case Studies by BCIT is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

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Nursing Case Study

Nursing Case Study

ScienceDirect posted a nursing ethics case study where an end-stage prostate cancer patient, Mr. Green, confided to nursing staff about his plan to commit suicide. The patient asked the nurse to keep it a secret. The ethical problem is whether the nurse should tell the health care team members about the patient’s thought without his permission. The best ethical decision for this nursing case study was to share this critical information with other health care professionals, which was the action the nurse took. The team adhered to the proper self-harm and suicide protocol. The appropriate team performed a palliative therapy. As a result, the patient didn’t harm himself and died peacefully a few months after he was discharged.

What Is a Nursing Case Study? A nursing case study is a detailed study of an individual patient. Through this type of research, you can gain more information about the symptoms and the medical history of a patient. It will also allow you to provide the proper diagnoses of the patient’s illness based on the symptoms he or she experienced and other affecting factors. Nursing students usually perform this study as part of their practicum, making it an essential experience because, through this research methodology , they can apply the lessons they have learned from school. The situation mentioned above was an excellent example of a nursing case study.

Nursing Case Study Format

1. introduction.

Purpose: Briefly introduces the case study, including the main health issue or condition being explored. Background: Provides context for the patient scenario, outlining the significance of the case in nursing practice. Objectives: Lists the learning objectives or goals that the case study aims to achieve.

2. Patient Information

Demographics: Age, gender, ethnicity, and relevant personal information. Medical History: Past medical history, including any chronic conditions, surgeries, or significant health events. Current Health Assessment: Presents the patient’s current health status, including symptoms, vital signs, and results from initial examinations.

3. Case Description

Clinical Presentation: Detailed description of the patient’s presentation, including physical examination findings and patient-reported symptoms. Diagnostic Findings: Summarizes diagnostic tests that were performed, including lab tests, imaging studies, and other diagnostic procedures, along with their results. Treatment Plan: Outlines the initial treatment provided to the patient, including medications, therapies, surgeries, or other interventions.

4. Nursing Care Plan

Nursing Diagnoses: Identifies the nursing diagnoses based on the assessment data. Goals and Outcomes: Establishes short-term and long-term goals for the patient’s care, including expected outcomes. Interventions: Describes specific nursing interventions planned or implemented to address each nursing diagnosis and achieve the stated goals. Evaluation: Discusses the effectiveness of the nursing interventions, including patient progress and any adjustments made to the care plan.

5. Analysis

Critical Analysis: Analyzes the case in depth, considering different aspects of patient care, decision-making processes, and the application of nursing theories and principles. Reflection: Reflects on the nursing practice, lessons learned, and how the case study has impacted the understanding and application of nursing knowledge.

6. Conclusion

Summary: Provides a concise summary of the key points from the case study, including the patient outcome and the nursing care impact. Implications for Practice: Discusses the implications of the case for nursing practice, including any changes to practice or policy that could improve patient care. Recommendations: Offers recommendations for future care or areas for further study based on the case study findings.

Examples of Nursing Case Study

Management of Acute Myocardial Infarction (AMI) Introduction: A 58-year-old male with a history of hypertension and smoking presents to the emergency department with chest pain. This case study explores the nursing management for patients with AMI.   Patient Information: Demographics: 58-year-old male, smoker. Medical History: Hypertension, no previous diagnosis of heart disease. Current Health Assessment: Reports severe chest pain radiating to his left arm, sweating, and nausea.   Case Description: Clinical Presentation: Patient appeared in distress, clutching his chest. Diagnostic Findings: ECG showed ST-elevation in anterior leads. Troponin levels were elevated. Treatment Plan: Immediate administration of aspirin, nitroglycerin, and morphine for pain. Referred for emergency coronary angiography.   Nursing Care Plan: Nursing Diagnoses: Acute pain related to myocardial ischemia. Goals: Relieve pain and prevent further myocardial damage. Interventions: Monitoring vital signs, administering prescribed medications, and providing emotional support. Evaluation: Pain was managed effectively, and the patient was stabilized for angiography.   Analysis: The timely nursing interventions contributed to stabilizing the patient’s condition, showcasing the critical role nurses play in acute care settings.   Conclusion: This case highlights the importance of quick assessment and intervention in patients with AMI, emphasizing the nurse’s role in pain management and support.
Managing Type 1 Diabetes in a Pediatric Patient Introduction: A 10-year-old female diagnosed with type 1 diabetes presents for a routine check-up. This case study focuses on the nursing care plan for managing diabetes in pediatric patients.   Patient Information: Demographics: 10-year-old female. Medical History: Diagnosed with type 1 diabetes six months ago. Current Health Assessment: Well-controlled blood glucose levels, but expresses difficulty with frequent insulin injections.   Case Description: Clinical Presentation: Patient is active, engaging in school activities but struggles with diabetes management. Diagnostic Findings: HbA1c is 7.2%, indicating good control. Treatment Plan: Insulin therapy, carbohydrate counting, and regular blood glucose monitoring.   Nursing Care Plan: Nursing Diagnoses: Risk for unstable blood glucose levels. Goals: Maintain blood glucose within target range and increase patient comfort with diabetes management. Interventions: Education on insulin pump use, dietary advice, and coping strategies. Evaluation: Patient showed interest in using an insulin pump and understood dietary recommendations.   Analysis: This case emphasizes the importance of education and emotional support in managing chronic conditions in pediatric patients.   Conclusion: Effective management of type 1 diabetes in children requires a comprehensive approach that includes education, technological aids, and psychological support.
Elderly Care for Alzheimer’s Disease Introduction: An 82-year-old female with Alzheimer’s disease presents with increased confusion and agitation. This case study examines the complexities of caring for elderly patients with Alzheimer’s.   Patient Information: Demographics: 82-year-old female. Medical History: Alzheimer’s disease, osteoarthritis. Current Health Assessment: Increased confusion, agitation, and occasional aggression.   Case Description: Clinical Presentation: Patient exhibits signs of advanced Alzheimer’s with memory loss and disorientation. Diagnostic Findings: Cognitive tests confirm the progression of Alzheimer’s. Treatment Plan: Non-pharmacological interventions for agitation, memory aids, and safety measures in the home.   Nursing Care Plan: Nursing Diagnoses: Impaired memory related to Alzheimer’s disease. Goals: Reduce agitation and prevent harm. Interventions: Use of calming techniques, establishing a routine, and environmental modifications. Evaluation: Agitation was reduced, and the patient’s safety was improved through environmental adjustments.   Analysis: The case underscores the need for tailored interventions to manage Alzheimer’s symptoms and improve the quality of life for the elderly.   Conclusion: Nursing care for Alzheimer’s patients requires a multifaceted approach focusing on safety, symptom management, and patient dignity.

Nursing Case Study Topics with Samples to Edit & Download

  • Telehealth Nursing
  • Mental Health and Psychiatric Nursing
  • Geriatric Nursing Care
  • Palliative and End-of-Life Care
  • Pediatric Nursing
  • Emergency and Critical Care Nursing
  • Chronic Disease Management
  • Nursing Ethics and Patient Rights
  • Infection Control and Prevention
  • Oncology Nursing
  • Nursing Leadership and Management
  • Cultural Competence in Nursing
  • Substance Abuse and Addiction Nursing
  • Technological Innovations in Nursing
  • Nursing Education and Training

Nursing Case Study Examples & Templates

1. nursing case study template.

nursing case study template

2. Free Nursing Student Care Plan Template

free nursing student care plan template

3. Nursing Action Case Study Example

nursing action case study example

4. Hospital Nursing Care Case Study Example

hospital nursein care case study example

5. Printable Nursing Health Case Study Example

nursing health case study example


6. Fundamentals of Nursing Case Study Example

fundamentals of nursing case study example


7. Sample Nursing Case Study Example

sample nursing case study example


8. Nursing Research Case Study Example

nursing research case study example

9. Standard Nursing Case Study Example

standard nursing case study


10. Nursing Disability Case Study Example

nursing disability case study example


11. Nursing care Patients Case Study Example

nursing care patients case study

12. School of Nursing Case Study Example

school of nursing case study example


13. Evaluation of Nursing Care Case Study Example

evaluation of nursing care case study example


Nursing Case Study Segments

Typically, a nursing case study contains three main categories, such as the items below.

1. The Status of a Patient

In this section, you will provide the patient’s information, such as medical history, and give the current patient’s diagnosis, condition, and treatment. Always remember to write down all the relevant information about the patient. Other items that you can collect in this stage are the reasons for the patient to seek medical care and the initial symptoms that he or she is experiencing. After that, based on the gathered information, you will explain the nature and cause of the illness of the patient.

2. The Nursing Assessment of the Patient

In this stage, you will need to prepare your evaluation of the patient’s condition. You should explain each observation that you have collected based on the vital signs and test results. You will also explain each nursing diagnosis that you have identified and determine the proper nursing care plan for the patient.

3. The Current Care Plan and Recommendations

Describe the appropriate care plan that you can recommend to the patient based on the diagnosis, current status, and prognosis in detail, including how the care plan will affect his or her life quality. If needed, you can also evaluate the patient’s existing care plan and give recommendations to enhance it. It is also crucial to cite relevant authoritative sources that will support your recommendations .

Objectives of Nursing Case Study

Nursing case studies are integral educational tools that bridge theoretical knowledge with practical application in patient care. They serve several key objectives essential for the development of nursing students and professionals. Here are the primary objectives of nursing case studies:

1. Enhance Critical Thinking and Clinical Reasoning

Case studies encourage nurses to analyze complex patient scenarios, make informed decisions, and apply critical thinking skills to solve problems. They simulate real-life situations, requiring nurses to evaluate data, consider multiple outcomes, and choose the best course of action.

2. Improve Diagnostic Skills

Through the detailed analysis of patient information, symptoms, and diagnostic results, nursing case studies help improve diagnostic skills. They allow nurses to practice interpreting clinical data to identify patient conditions and understand the underlying causes of symptoms.

3. Facilitate Application of Theoretical Knowledge

Nursing case studies provide a direct bridge between classroom learning and clinical practice. They offer a practical venue for applying theoretical knowledge about anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, and nursing theories to real-world patient care situations.

4. Promote Understanding of Comprehensive Patient Care

These studies emphasize the importance of holistic care, considering the physical, emotional, social, and psychological aspects of patient well-being. Nurses learn to develop comprehensive care plans that address all facets of a patient’s health.

5. Encourage Reflective Practice and Self-Assessment

Reflecting on case study outcomes enables nurses to evaluate their own decision-making processes, clinical judgments, and actions. This self-assessment promotes continuous learning and professional growth by identifying areas for improvement.

6. Foster Interdisciplinary Collaboration

Case studies often involve scenarios that require collaboration among healthcare professionals from various disciplines. They teach nurses the value of teamwork, communication, and the integration of different expertise to achieve optimal patient outcomes.

7. Enhance Patient Education and Advocacy Skills

By working through case studies, nurses improve their ability to educate patients and families about health conditions, treatment plans, and preventive measures. They also learn to advocate for their patients’ needs and preferences within the healthcare system.

8. Prepare for Real-Life Challenges

Nursing case studies prepare students and new nurses for the unpredictability and challenges of real-life clinical settings. They provide safe, controlled environments to practice responses to emergencies, ethical dilemmas, and complex patient needs without the risk of actual harm.

Steps in Nursing Process

Whether you are handling a patient with schizophrenia, pneumonia, diabetes, appendicitis, hypertension, COPD, etc, you will need to follow specific steps to ensure that you are executing the critical nursing process.

1. Assess the Patient

The first step of the nursing process requires critical thinking skills as it involves gathering both subjective and objective data. Subjective data includes verbal statements that you can collect from the patient or caregiver. In contrast, objective information refers to measurable and tangible data, such as vital signs, height, weight, etc. You can also use other sources of information, such as electronic health records, and friends that are in direct contact with the patient.

2. Diagnose the Patient

This critical step will help you in the next steps, such as planning and implementation of patient care. In this step, you will formulate a nursing diagnosis by applying clinical judgment. As a nurse, the North American Nursing Diagnosis Association (NANDA) will give you an up-to-date nursing diagnosis list, which will allow you to form a diagnosis based on the actual health problem.

3. Plan for a Proper Patient Care Plan

This part is where you will plan out the appropriate care plan for the patient. You will set this goal following the evidence-based practice (EDP) guidelines. The goal you will set should be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely ( SMART ).

4. Implement the Plan

In this stage, you can execute the plan that you have developed in the previous step. The implementation may need interventions such as a cardiac monitor, medication administration, etc.

5. Evaluate the Results

It is crucial to remember that every time the team does an intervention, you must do a reassessment to ensure that the process will lead to a positive result. You may need to reassess the patient depending on his progress, and the care plan may be modified based on the reassessment result.

Where to find nursing case studies?

Nursing case studies can be found in a variety of academic, professional, and medical resources. Here are some key places to look for nursing case studies:

  • Academic Journals : Many academic journals focus on nursing and healthcare and publish case studies regularly. Examples include the “Journal of Clinical Nursing,” “Nursing Case Studies,” and “American Journal of Nursing.”
  • University and College Libraries : Many academic institutions provide access to databases and journals that contain nursing case studies. Libraries often have subscriptions to these resources.
  • Online Medical Libraries : Websites like PubMed, ScienceDirect, and Wiley Online Library offer a vast collection of nursing and medical case studies.
  • Professional Nursing Organizations : Organizations such as the American Nurses Association (ANA) and the National League for Nursing (NLN) often provide resources, including case studies, for their members.
  • Nursing Education Websites : Websites dedicated to nursing education, such as Lippincott NursingCenter and Nurse.com, often feature case studies for educational purposes.
  • Government Health Websites : The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) sometimes publish case studies related to public health nursing and disease outbreaks.
  • Nursing Textbooks and eBooks : Many nursing textbooks and eBooks include case studies to illustrate key concepts and scenarios encountered in practice.
  • Online Nursing Forums and Communities : Forums and online communities for nursing professionals may share or discuss case studies as part of their content.
  • Conference Proceedings : Nursing and healthcare conferences often include presentations of case studies. Many of these are published in the conference proceedings, which may be accessible online.

Carrying out a nursing case study can be a delicate task since it puts the life of a person at stake. Thus, it requires a thorough investigation. With that said, it is essential to gain intensive knowledge about this type of study. Today, we have discussed an overview of how to conduct a nursing case study. However, if you think that you are having problems with your writing skills , we recommend you to consider looking for an essay writing service from the experts in the nursing department to ensure that the output follows the appropriate writing style and terminology.

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2.1: Learning Objectives

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Case 1 describes a patient’s experience of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) with a history of asthma. The interprofessional collaboration is role modelled between nursing, medical radiology, medical laboratory, and healthcare workers in the emergency department.

Note: The story told here is used in case 1 and case 2. The simpler version in case 1 can be used to teach novice students about health case studies. Case 2 reintroduces the patient from case 1 and expands her story with more details for more advanced study.

Learning Objectives

In this case, learners have an opportunity to:

  • Review etiological factors (i.e., risk factors, prevalence, co­morbidities) associated with respiratory disease
  • Build knowledge related to the patient’s experience of respiratory disease
  • Continue to develop comprehensive assessment, monitoring skills, and abilities (e.g., respiratory assessment, diagnostic studies, laboratory data)
  • Develop and justify optimal therapy based on the current understanding of the pathophysiology of COPD and available clinical evidence
  • Recommend interventions based on the risk factors, status, and progression of respiratory disease
  • Define the roles of healthcare professionals and the contributions they make to the healthcare team (or describe your own role and the roles of those in other professions)

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Case-Based Learning and its Application in Medical and Health-Care Fields: A Review of Worldwide Literature

Susan f. mclean.

Department of Surgery, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso, El Paso, TX, USA.


Case-based learning (CBL) is a newer modality of teaching healthcare. In order to evaluate how CBL is currently used, a literature search and review was completed.

A literature search was completed using an OVID© database using PubMed as the data source, 1946-8/1/2015. Key words used were “Case-based learning” and “medical education”, and 360 articles were retrieved. Of these, 70 articles were selected to review for location, human health care related fields of study, number of students, topics, delivery methods, and student level.

All major continents had studies on CBL. Education levels were 64% undergraduate and 34% graduate. Medicine was the most frequently represented field, with articles on nursing, occupational therapy, allied health, child development and dentistry. Mean number of students per study was 214 (7–3105). The top 3 most common methods of delivery were live presentation in 49%, followed by computer or web-based in 20% followed by mixed modalities in 19%. The top 3 outcome evaluations were: survey of participants, knowledge test, and test plus survey, with practice outcomes less frequent. Selected studies were reviewed in greater detail, highlighting advantages and disadvantages of CBL, comparisons to Problem-based learning, variety of fields in healthcare, variety in student experience, curriculum implementation, and finally impact on patient care.


CBL is a teaching tool used in a variety of medical fields using human cases to impart relevance and aid in connecting theory to practice. The impact of CBL can reach from simple knowledge gains to changing patient care outcomes.

Medical and health care-related education is currently changing. Since the advent of adult education, educators have realized that learners need to see the relevance and be actively engaged in the topic under study. 1 Traditionally, students in health care went to lectures and then transitioned into patient care as a type of on-the-job training. Medical schools have realized the importance of including clinical work early and have termed the mixing of basic and clinical sciences as vertical integration. 2 Other human health-related fields have also recognized the value of illustrating teaching points with actual cases or simulated cases. Using clinical cases to aid teaching has been termed as case-based learning (CBL).

There is not a set definition for CBL. An excellent definition has been proposed by Thistlewaite et al in a review article. In their 2012 paper, a CBL definition is “The goal of CBL is to prepare students for clinical practice, through the use of authentic clinical cases. It links theory to practice, through the application of knowledge to the cases, using inquiry-based learning methods”. 3

Others have defined CBL by comparing CBL to a similar yet distinct clinical integration teaching method, problem-based learning (PBL). PBL sessions typically used one patient and had very little direction to the discussion of the case. The learning occurred as the case unfolded, with students having little advance preparation and often researching during the case. Srinivasan et al compared CBL with PBL 4 and noted that in PBL the student had little advance preparation and very little guidance during the case discussion. However, in CBL, both the student and faculty prepare in advance, and there is guidance to the discussion so that important learning points are covered. In a survey of students and faculty after a United States medical school switched from PBL to CBL, students reported that they enjoyed CBL better because there were fewer unfocused tangents. 4

CBL is currently used in multiple health-care settings around the world. In order to evaluate what is now considered CBL, current uses of CBL, and evaluation strategies of CBL-based curricular elements, a literature review was completed.

This review will focus on human health-related applications of CBL-type learning. A summary of articles reviewed is presented with respect to fields of study, delivery options for CBL, locations of study, outcomes measurement if any, number of learners, and level of learner's education. These findings will be discussed. The rest of this review will focus on expanding on the article summary by describing in more detail the publications that reported on CBL. The review is organized into definitions of CBL, comparison of CBL with PBL, and the advantages of using CBL. The review will also examine the utility and usage of CBL with respect to various fields and levels of learner, as well as the methods of implementation of CBL in curricula. Finally, the impact of CBL training on patient and health-care outcomes will be reviewed. One wonders with the proliferation of articles that have CBL in the title, whether or not there has been literature defining exactly what CBL is, how it is used, and whether or not there are any advantages to using CBL over other teaching strategies. The rationale for completing this review is to assess CBL as a discrete mode of transmitting medical and related fields of knowledge. A systematic review of how CBL is accomplished, including successes and failures in reports of CBL in real curricula, would aid other teachers of medical knowledge in the future. Examining the current use of CBL would improve the current methodology of CBL. Therefore, the aims of this review are to discover how widespread the use of CBL is globally, identify current definitions of CBL, compare CBL with PBL, review educational levels of learners, compare methods of implementation of CBL in curricula, and review CBL reports on outcomes of learning.

A literature search was completed using an OVID© database search with PubMed as the database, 1946 to August 1, 2015. The search key words were “Case Based Learning, Medical Education”. Investigational Review Board declined to review this project as there were no human subjects involved and this was an article review. A total of 360 articles were retrieved. Articles were excluded for the following reasons: unable to find complete article on the search engine OVID, unable to find English language translation, article did not really describe CBL, article was not medically or health related, or article did not describe human beings. Articles that originated in another language but had English language translation were included.

After excluding the articles as described, 70 of these articles were selected to review for location of study, description of CBL used, human health care-related fields of study, number of students if available, topics of study, method of delivery, and level of student (eg, graduate or undergraduate). Students were considered undergraduate if they were considered undergraduate in their field. For example, medical students were considered undergraduate, because they would still have to undergo more training to become fully able to practice. If the student was in the terminal degree, then that was considered a study of graduate students. For example, nutrition students were listed as graduate students. CBL encounters for both residents and independent practitioners who were in their final training prior to practice were listed as graduates. Residents were listed under graduate medical education. If a group had already graduated, they were listed as graduates. For example, MDs who participated in a continuing medical education (CME)-type CBL were listed as graduate type of student. Articles that did not list the total number of students were included, as one of the purposes of this review was to discover how widespread the use of CBL was globally, and what types of students and types of delivery were used. By including descriptive articles that were not specific, the global use of CBL could attempt to be assessed. Including locations of studies would then help decide whether CBL was isolated from the Western countries or has it truly spread around the world.

In order to review how CBL was used, in addition to where it was used, the method of delivery was assessed. Method of delivery refers to how the total educational content was delivered. Articles were reviewed for description of exactly how material was imparted to learners. Since many authors described their learning methods in detail, an attempt was undertaken to classify these methods. Method of delivery was classified as follows: live was considered a live presentation of the case, this could be a description, a patient, or a simulated patient. Computer or web based meant that the case and content were web based. Mixed modalities meant that more than two modalities were used during presentation. For example, if an article described assigned reading, lectures, small group discussions, a live case-based session, and patient interactions, then that article would be described as mixed modalities.

Method of evaluation of the educational intervention was also reviewed. The multiple ways in which the interventions were evaluated varied. A survey of how the learners viewed the intervention was frequent. Tests of knowledge gained were frequent, and these ranged from written, to oral, to Observed Skills Clinical Examination (OSCE). Another way by which CBL intervention knowledge was evaluated was review of practice behavior in clinicians. These multiple ways to evaluate the introduction of CBL into a curriculum are summarized in a table.

Results are presented in simple frequencies and percentages. SPSS (Statistical Program for the Social Sciences, IBM) version 22 was used for analysis.

All continuously inhabited continents had studies on CBL ( Fig. 1 ). North America is represented with the most with 54.9% of articles, followed by Europe (25.4%) and Asia, including India, Australia, and New Zealand (15.5%). South America had 2.8% and Africa had 1%. 5 – , 75

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CBL use worldwide.

Level of education was undergraduation in 45 (64%) articles and graduation in 24 (34%) articles, with one article having both levels. One study with both faculty and residents was considered as a type of graduate education. The types of fields of study varied ( Fig. 2 ). The most represented field was medicine including traditional Chinese medicine, with articles also on nursing, occupational therapy, allied health, child development, and dentistry. The number of students ranged from 7 to 3105 and the mean number of students was 214. One study reported on the use of teams of critical care personnel, in which it was mentioned that there were three persons per team usually. Thus, the number of students was multiplied: 40 teams x 3 = 120 in total. The total number of students were 9884 from the 46 papers that explicitly stated the number of students.

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Fields of study.

Methods of delivery also varied ( Fig. 3 ). The most common method of delivery was live presentation (49%), followed by computer or web based (20%) and then mixed modalities (19%). Method of evaluation or outcomes was studied ( Fig. 4 ). Survey (36%), test (17%), and test plus survey (16%) were the top three methods of evaluation of a CBL learning session. Lesser in frequency was review of practice behavior (9%), test plus OSCE (9%), and others. Review of practice behavior could include reviewing prescription writing, or in one case reviewing the number of adverse drug events reported spontaneously in Portugal. 65

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Mode of delivery of CBL.

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Method of evaluation.

Discussion and Review

CBL is used worldwide. There was a large variety of fields of medicine. The numbers reported included a wide range of number of learners. Some studies were descriptive, and it was hard to know exactly how many students were involved. This problem was noted in another recent review. 3 CBL was used in various educational levels, from undergraduate to graduate. The number of students ranged from very small studies of 7 students to over 3000 students. The media used to deliver a CBL session varied, from several live forms to paper and pencil or internet-based media. The outcomes measurement to review if CBL sessions were successful ranged from surveys of participants to knowledge tests to measures of patient outcomes. In order to further analyze the worldwide use of CBL, the articles are reviewed below in more detail.

Definition of CBL

CBL has been used in medical fields since at least 1912, when it was used by Dr. James Lorrain Smith while teaching pathology in 1912 at the University of Edinburgh. 63 , 68 Thistlewaite et al 3 pointed out in a recent review of CBL that “There is no international consensus as to the definition of case-based learning (CBL) though it is contrasted to problem based learning (PBL) in terms of structure. We conclude that CBL is a form of inquiry based learning and fits on the continuum between structured and guided learning.” They offer a definition of CBL: “The goal of CBL is to prepare students for clinical practice, through the use of authentic clinical cases. It links theory to practice, through the application of knowledge to the cases, using inquiry-based learning methods.” 3

Another pathology article from Africa, describing a course in laboratory medicine for mixed graduate medical education (residents) and CME for clinicians, defines CBL: “Case-based learning is structured so that trainees explore clinically relevant topics using open-ended questions with well-defined goals.” 7 The exploring that students or trainees do factors into other definitions. In a dental education article originating in Turkey, the authors remark: “The advantages of the case-based method are promotion of self-directed learning, clinical reasoning, clinical problem solving, and decision making by providing repeated experiences in class and by enabling students to focus on the complexity of clinical care.” 8 Another definition of CBL was offered in a physiology education paper regarding teaching undergraduate medical students in India: “What is CBL? By discussing a clinical case related to the topic taught, students evaluated their own understanding of the concept using a high order of cognition. This process encourages active learning and produces a more productive outcome.” 13 In an article published in 2008, regarding teaching graduate pharmacology students, CBL was defined as “Case-based learning (CBL) is an active-learning strategy, much like problem-based learning, involving small groups in which the group focuses on solving a presented problem.” 45 Another study, which was from China regarding teaching undergraduate medical student's pharmacology, describes CBL as “CBL is a long-established pedagogical method that focuses on case study teaching and inquiry-based learning: thus, CBL is on the continuum between structured and guided learning.” 63 It is apparent that the definition requires at least: (1) a clinical case, (2) some kind of inquiry on the part of the learner, which is all of the information to be learned, is not presented at first, (3) enough information presented so that there is not too much time spent learning basics, and (4) a faculty teaching and guiding the discussion, ensuring that learning objectives are met. In most studies, CBL is not presented as free inquiry. The inquiry may be a problem or question. Based on the fact that a problem is expected to be solved or question answered, the information covered cannot be completely new, or the new information must be presented alongside the case.

A modern definition of CBL is that CBL is a form of learning, which involves a clinical case, a problem or question to be solved, and a stated set of learning objectives with a measured outcome. Included in this definition is that some, but not all, of the information is presented prior to or during the learning intervention, and some of the information is discovered during the problem solving or question answering. The learner acquires some of the learning objectives during the CBL session, whether it is live, web based, or on paper. In contrast, if all of the information were given prior or during the session, without the need for inquiry, then the session would just be a lecture or reading.

Comparison of CBL and PBL

CBL is not the first and only method of inquiry-based education. PBL is similar, with distinct differences ( Fig. 5 ). In many papers, CBL is compared and contrasted with PBL in order to define CBL better. PBL is also centered around a clinical case. Often the objectives are less clearly defined at the outset of the learning session, and learning occurs in the course of solving the problem. There is a teacher, but the teacher is less intrusive with the guidance than in CBL. One comparison of CBL to PBL was described in an article on Turkish dental school education: “… CBL is effective for students who have already acquired foundational knowledge, whereas PBL invites the student to learn foundational knowledge as part of researching the clinical case.” Study, of postgraduate education in an American Obstetrics and Gynecology residency, describes CBL as “CBL is a variant of PBL and involves a case vignette that is designed to reflect the educational objectives of a particular topic.” 54 In an overview of CBL and PBL in a dental education article from the United States, the authors note that the main focus of PBL is on the cases and CBL is more flexible in its use of clinical material. 16 The authors quote Donner and Bickley, 70 stating that PBL is “… a form of education in which information is mastered in the same context in which it will be used … PBL is seen as a student-driven process in which the student sets the pace, and the role of the teacher becomes one of guide, facilitator, and resource … (p294).” The authors note that where PBL has the student as the driver , in CBL the teachers are the drivers of education, guiding and directing the learning much more than in PBL. 16 The authors also note that there has not been conclusive evidence that PBL is better than traditional lecture-based learning (LBL) and has been noted to cover less material, some say 80% of a curriculum. 71 It is apparent that PBL has been used to aid case-related teaching in medical fields.

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Differences in CBL and PBL.

Two studies highlight the advantages and disadvantages of CBL compared with PBL. Both studies report on major curriculum shifts at three major medical schools. The first study, published in 2005, reported on the performance outcomes during the third-year clerkship rotations at Southern Illinois University (SIU). 19 At SIU, during the 1994–2002 school years, there was both a standard (STND) and PBL learning tract offered for the preclinical years, years 1–2. During the PBL tract, basics of medicine were taught in small group tutoring sessions using PBL modules and standardized patients. In addition, there was a weekly live clinical session. The two tracts were compared over all those years with respect to United States Medical Licensing Exam© (USMLE) test performance on Steps 1 and 2, and also overall grades and subcategories on the six third-year clerkships. So the two tracks had differing years 1–2 and the same year 3. Results noted that the PBL track had more women and older students, so these variables were set out as covariates analyzing other scores. Comparing the PBL versus STND tracks, USMLE scores were statistically equal over the years 1994–2002. PBL was 204.90 ± 21.05 and STND was 205.09 ± 23.07 ( P , 0.92); Step 2 scores were PBL 210.17 ± 21.83, STND 201.32 ± 23.25 ( P , 0.15). Clerkship overall scores were overall statistically significantly higher for PBL tract students in Obstetrics and Gynecology and Psychiatry ( P = 0.02, P < 0.001, respectively) and statistically not different for other clerkships. Clerkship subcategory analysis demonstrated statistically significantly higher scores for PBL tract students in clinical performance, knowledge and clinical reasoning, noncognitive behaviors, and percent honors grades, with no difference in the percentage of remediations. The school decided to switch to a single-tract curriculum after 2002. The problems noted with the PBL curriculum involved recruiting PBL faculty and faculty acceptance of student interactions, and also assessment issues. Faculty had to be trained to teach in PBL, which was time consuming and interfered with the process of learning by students. In addition, some faculty felt that the teachers should determine the learner's needs and not vice versa. The PBL assessment tools were novel and not immediately accepted by the faculty. 19 Other schools noted similar problems with PBL: it is different than LBL, and difficult to teach, as it is extremely learner centered. Learning objectives are essentially generated by the student, making faculty control over learning difficult. At this school, the difficulties in using PBL contributed to its abandonment as a stand-alone curriculum tract.

The difficulties in using PBL were associated with changes in other medical schools. Two medical schools in the United States, namely, University of California, Los Angeles, and University of California, Davis, changed from a PBL method to a CBL method for teaching a course entitled Doctoring , which was a small group faculty led course given over years 1–3 in both schools. 4 Both schools had a typical PBL approach, with little student advance preparation, little faculty direction during the session, and a topic that was initially unknown to the student. After the shift in curriculum to CBL, there were still small group sessions, but the students were expected to do some advance reading, and the faculty members were instructed to guide or direct the problem solving. Since in both schools the students and faculty had some experience with PBL before the shift, a survey was used to assess student and faculty experiences and perceptions of the two methods. Both students and faculty preferred CBL (89% of students and 84% of faculty favored CBL). Reasons for preference of CBL over PBL were as follows: fewer unfocused tangents (59% favoring CBL, odds ratio [OR] 4.10, P = 0.01), less busywork (80% favoring CBL, OR 3.97 and P = 0.01), and more opportunities for clinical skills application (52%, OR 25.6, P = 0.002). 4 In summary, these two reports indicate that while a case-oriented learning session can prepare students for both tests of knowledge and also clinical reasoning, PBL has the problems of difficult to initiate faculty or teachers in teaching this way, difficult to cover a large amount of clinical ground, and difficulty in assessment. CBL, on the other hand, has advantages of flexibility in using the case and offers the same reality base that offers relevance for the adult health-care learner. In addition, CBL appears to be accepted by the faculty that may be practicing clinicians and offers a way to teach specific learning objectives. These advantages of CBL led to it being the preferred method of case-related learning at these two large medical schools.

Advantages of CBL and deeper learning

Another touted advantage of CBL is deeper learning. That is, learning that goes beyond simple identification of correct answers and is more aligned with either evidence of critical thinking or changes in behavior and generalizability of learning to new cases. Several articles described this aspect of CBL. One article was set at a tertiary care hospital, the Mayo Clinic, and was a teaching model for quality improvement to prevent patient adverse events. 33 The students were clinicians, and the course was a continuing education or postgraduate course. The authors in the Quality Improvement, Information Technology, and Medical Education departments created an online CBL module with three cases representing the most common type of patient adverse events in internal medicine. The authors use Kirkpatrick's outcomes hierarchy to assess the level of critical thinking after the CBL intervention. Kirkpatrick's outcomes hierarchy is based on four levels: the first, reaction of learner to educational intervention, the second, actual learning: acquiring knowledge or skills, the third, behavior or generalizing lessons learned to actual practice, and the fourth, results that would be patient outcomes. 72 The authors note that as one moves up this hierarchy, learning is more difficult to measure. A survey can measure hierarchy level 1, a written test, and level 2. Behavior is more difficult but still able to be measured. The authors measured critical thinking in physicians, taking their Quality Improvement course by measuring critical reflection by a survey. The authors constructed a reflection survey, which asked course participants about items constructed to assess their level of reflection on the cases. Least reflective levels consisted of habitual action, and most critically, reflective items asked physicians if they would change the way they do things based on the cases. The results of their intervention showed that physicians had the lowest scores in reaching the higher levels of reflective thinking. However, the reflection scores were shown to be associated with physicians’ perceptions of case relevance ( P = 0.01) and event generalizability ( P = 0.001). This study was the first to evaluate physician's reflections after a CBL module on adverse events. The assumption is that deeper learning will be more likely to lead to behavioral changes.

Another attempt to measure deeper learning was reported from a dental school in Turkey. 8 The authors compared a CBL course with an older LBL course from the previous year by using “SOLO” taxonomy, developed by Biggs and Collis. 73 SOLO taxonomy rates the learning outcomes from prestructural through extended abstract. For example, in unistructural, the second item of SOLO, items could be “define”, “identify”, or “do a simple procedure”, whereas in the “extended abstract” level, the items are “evaluate”, “predict”, “generalize”, “create”, “reflect”, or “hypothesize” in higher mental order tasks. 8 A post-test was used to measure the responses on the test. The test questions were assigned to SOLO categories. In the first three categories of SOLO taxonomy questions, there was no statistical difference in scores between LBL and CBL groups. In the last two or higher categories of questions based on SOLO taxonomy, there was a statistically significant increase in the scores for relational and extended types of questions for the CBL group ( P = 0.014 and 0.026, respectively). This review shows a benefit in higher level learning using a CBL program. Again, the assumption is that by inducing higher order mental tasks, deeper learning will occur and behavioral change will follow.

Two other studies discussed the levels of thinking and preparation for practice. One study compared students in interdisciplinary (ID) versus single-discipline students (SD; clinical anatomy) in a Graduate School for Health Sciences in Missouri, U.S. The two groups had slightly different cases. The ID group had complex ID cases and answered multiple choice questions about the cases. The SD group had cases in their discipline and answered multiple choice cases around the case. The assessment tool was the Watson-Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal. The mean scores of both groups were not statistically different. However, ID students who scored below the median on the pretest scored significantly higher on the posttest. While this study set out to compare the differences in SD vs ID teaching using CBL, it also compared the effects of an ID course on critical thinking and it appears to be synergistic with improving scores for students who started below the median on testing. This is important in education programs, because while mean scores may not rise, if less students are scoring lower, then less students will fail the course and have to repeat.

The second paper that attempted to measure higher learning outcomes queried dental school graduates who had completed a CBL course during their dental school training. 22 The survey was designed to assess the CBL curriculum with respect to actual job requirements of practicing dentists. The graduates spanned 16 years, from 1990 to 2006, and the survey was conducted in 2007–2008. The response rate was 41%. The findings were that the CBL course was associated with positive correlations in “research competence”, “interdisciplinary thinking”, “practical dental skills”, “team work”, and “independent learning/working”. Other items including “problem-solving skills”, “psycho-social competence”, and “business competence” were not scored as highly with respondents. This article measured self-reported competencies and not the competencies as assessed by independent observers. However, it does attempt to link CBL with the actual practice with which it was attempting to teach, which is one of the generally accepted benefits of CBL.

In summary, CBL is defined as an inquiry structured learning experience utilizing live or simulated patient cases to solve, or examine a clinical problem, with the guidance of a teacher and stated learning objectives. Advantages of using CBL include more focusing on learning objectives compared with PBL, flexibility on the use of the case, and ability to induce a deeper level of learning by inducing more critical thinking skills.

Uses of CBL with respect to various fields and various levels in health-care training

CBL is used to impart knowledge in various fields in health care and various fields of medicine. The findings in this review showed that articles demonstrated the use of CBL in medicine, 2 , 4 – , 7 , 9 , 10 , 12 – , 14 , 18 – , 21 , 24 – , 26 , 30 , 33 , 34 , 36 , 37 , 39 – , 44 , 46 , 48 – , 62 , 64 – , 67 dentistry, 8 , 15 , 16 , 22 , 23 , 28 pharmacology, 11 , 27 , 29 , 35 , 45 , 63 occupational and physical therapy, 31 nursing, 5 , 21 , 38 , 47 , 51 allied health fields, 32 and child development. 17

Eighteen fields of medicine were seen in this review, from internal medicine and surgery to palliative medicine and critical care ( Fig. 2 , “fields of study”). Several articles highlight ID care or interprofessional care. A 2011 article in critical care medicine demonstrated the utility of both simulators and CBL on behaviors in critical situations of critical care teams of physicians and nurses. 5 Palliative care 21 and primary care 51 , 59 articles also reported on using a CBL course for learning with physicians and nurses. An article from the United Arab Emirates discussed how CBL better prepared participants for critical situations as well as basic primary care. 59

CBL is also used in various levels, including undergraduate education in the professions, graduate education, and postgraduate education. One field that uses CBL for all levels is surgery. Several articles describe surgical undergraduate medical education. One article describes using a paper and pencil plus live review sessions on improving student knowledge as tested by a standardized test in surgery. 6 Another paper from Germany describes initiation of a CBL curriculum for medical students and lists the pitfalls in establishing this curriculum. 26 A third undergraduate paper in a medical school course in surgery describes utilizing CBL and a more structured curriculum to aid in knowledge gains. A study utilizing both surgical simulators for laparoscopic procedural skills and CBL for clinical knowledge and reasoning demonstrates learning enhancement using CBL in surgical residents, or graduate surgical training. 20 In this study, scores in both procedural ratings during surgery for residents and also knowledge scores when presented with complications from surgery both rated higher in the CBL-enhanced course. Graduate use of CBL in surgery is frequent. CME courses are taught in trauma, which features lectures, skill stations, and simulation-based CBL. 74 Advanced Trauma Life Support (ATLS) certification is required for all surgeons who practice in a designated trauma center in the United States. 74 In addition, the American College of Surgeons publishes a self-assessment course entitled “SESAP” or Surgical Education and Self-Assessment Program, which is a web or CD-ROM course that is largely case based, with commentaries. 75 These two courses are widely available and are constantly revised to reflect new advances in patient care research. The use of CBL programs was employed in undergraduate and graduate including postgraduate fields in this review.

Use of CBL in rural and underserved areas

One practical use of CBL is to use CBL to enhance knowledge in rural or underserved areas. An excellent example of CBL is the Project Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes (ECHO) program in Arizona and Utah states, United States. 10 , 12 This program was based on the Project ECHO program initially devised at the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center in 2003. 10 In Arizona and Utah, the CDC helped fund a program to teach primary care providers and also provide access to specialist to treat hepatitis C virus (HCV)-infected patients. The primary aim was to increase treatment, as new drugs have become available, which are highly effective in treating HCV. The program works by recruiting primary care physician to participate. An initial teaching session is held on site at the health-care clinic in the rural or underserved area. Then, the provider teams are asked to participate in “tele ECHO” clinics in which participants present cases and have experts in HCV treatment comment. There are also educational sessions. Ninety providers participated, with 66% or 73% being primary care providers in rural or community health centers and not at universities. Over one and a half years, 280 patients were enrolled with 46.1% starting treatment. Other patients were likely not able to be treated, as their laboratory values indicated advanced liver disease. The percentage starting treatment was more than twice as many as expected to receive treatment prior to the project, based on historical controls. In addition to showing how CBL can impact rural medical care, this study is an example of learning assessment measured in patient outcomes.

A second CBL project was used in the United Arab Emirates to train rural practitioner's vital aspects of primary and emergency care using a CBL project. 60 The learners were able to provide feedback to the teachers as to the topics needed. This demonstrates the potential for interaction between teachers and learners using CBL, as it is a practical way to teach active practitioners. A third demonstration of using CBL in rural areas is in a report on teaching laboratory medicine in Africa. 7 In Sub-Saharan Africa, there is low trust in laboratory medicine services due in part to lower the quality of laboratories. This problem directly impacts patient care. Multiple international agencies are assisting the clinical laboratories in Sub-Saharan Africa in order to improve the quality of service. According to this report, the quality problem has led to decreased trust in laboratory medicine in the region. The course, given at Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia, was initiated to provide knowledge and also increase trust in laboratory medicine. The participants were 21 residents (graduate medical education), 3 faculty members, and 4 laboratory workers. The course was structured with both lectures and cases. Students were given homework for the differing cases. The assessments were both knowledge gains and also surveys of satisfaction for the course. Ratings on the survey were by ratings on a Likert scale of 1 (least valuable) to 5 (most valuable). Regarding the methods of delivery, the CBL sessions were rated highest with 85% of learners rating them as most valuable. In all, 81% rated case discussions as most valuable. Lectures received the most valuable rating by 65%. On the 12 question pre-/posttest, the mean score rose and also the number of questions answered correctly by the majority of learners. 7 These reports from three continents demonstrate that CBL is a practical way to impart knowledge in a diverse range of topics to clinicians who may be remote from a medical university.

Delivery of CBL: implementation and media

As illustrated in the above examples of use of CBL in rural settings, CBL use is varied as to the delivery method and implementation. Several articles demonstrate the importance of preparation for use in CBL. As many practitioners and students in all fields likely have more experience with LBL, participating in a course with CBL requires a different strategy and mindset in order to reach learning objectives. Preparation of both students and teachers in a CBL format is also very important for success. Two studies highlight the preparation and implementation of CBL: one not as successful as the other. In a qualitative study of introducing a new CBL format series to undergraduate medical students based in Sweden, the authors found that preparation of both students and faculty was likely inadequate for complete success. This study, held at the Karolinska Institutet, described the implementation of a CBL format for learning surgery during a semester course. All LBL classes were replaced with CBL sessions. The authors noted that at this time, there were organizational obstacles to starting a CBL course: lack of time and funds for faculty training. As such, faculty training was delayed and decreased. The study was a survey of five students and five faculty, who were picked from larger pools. There was a lot of criticism by students that the CBL needed more structure, or that the faculty often turned the CBL session more into a lecture session. The faculty described problems with getting the students to engage, and also with the lack of preparation for teaching in that format. Still, the overall impression was that CBL could increase interactive learning for this level of student. 26 This study demonstrates how lack of adequate preparation can impact a CBL experience for both faculty and students.

Another article demonstrated the differences in student motivation for autonomous learning, which was different, depending on how CBL was introduced. In a study of child development students in Sweden, there were four group methods to compare how students learned, depending on how CBL was introduced. The four groups were as follows: (1) LLL or all lecture, (2) CCCC or all CBL, (3) LCLC in which lecture and CBL were alternated in each session after the introduction, and (4) LLCC, in which there were three sessions with all lectures, two mixed lecture plus CBL, and two CBL only lectures to finish. There was a knowledge pretest and post-test to assess what the authors call prior knowledge (pretest) and achievement (posttest). Student motivation for learning was assessed by means of a modified Academic Self-Regulation Scale. 76 The results were that achievement scores and also autonomous motivation were both the highest in the LLCC group, or the group in which CBL was introduced after LBL. The authors conclude that students are more prepared for CBL after some foundational knowledge is imparted. These two articles demonstrate that both teacher and student preparation is necessary for a successful CBL learning encounter.

Use of CBL to impact patients and measurement of results

As described earlier, the Kirkland model of learning and assessment of outcomes includes assessment of the results of the training as its final method of assessing an intervention. In other words, how did the training impact patient care or its surrogate marker? Four recent studies illustrated how CBL can impact patient care. 10 , 12 , 40 , 54 , 69 The first, already described, is the Project ECHO for HCV treatment, which resulted in 46.1% of patients in the areas affected being started on treatment, and a large proportion of those treated being started on the newer antivirals. The second study was a study on practices by primary care physicians on treating diabetic patients. In this study, 122 primary care physicians (Family and Internal Medicine) at 18 sites were divided into three groups to enhance diabetes care. Group A received surveys and no intervention and served as a control group; group B received Internet-based software with three cases in a virtual patient encounter. The cases had simulated time and could include laboratory and medication orders and follow-up visits. After the cases, the physicians received feedback in the form of what an expert would do. Group C received the same CBL as group B with the addition of 60 minutes of verbal feedback and instruction from a physician opinion leader. The authors were able to obtain clinical data for the results. The results were that group B had a significant decline in hemoglobin A1C measures, the most common means of assessing glucose control over time in diabetics, while groups A and C did not. Groups B and C had a significant decline in prescribing metformin in patients with contraindications also. This demonstrates favorable clinical results using a CBL intervention. 40 The third was a study to institute chlamydia screening in offices. While the intervention did not globally increase chlamydia screening, the impact was that there was less of a decay on chlamydia screening in the intervention groups. 54 The last study demonstrated a CBL study in Portugal, which demonstrated an increase in reporting of adverse drug events after a CBL intervention in a study population of over 4000 physicians. 69 These four articles describe the use of CBL to impart medical knowledge and the use of patient outcomes to assess that learned knowledge. This is the ultimate test of learning for health-care practitioners: knowledge that improves patient care.

Limitations of this Review

This review was an attempt to classify a term, case-based learning , which is used frequently. In reviewing articles, this term was used as a search term. It is possible that articles written which would fit the definition of CBL but were termed differently by the individuals writing that article might have been missed. In addition, foreign language articles were not retrieved if there was not an English translation. There may be additional articles that would be instructional in other languages. The higher number of articles retrieved from North America may be biased by using a United States database. In an attempt to describe the various articles, which were termed case-based learning , the methods of delivery and evaluation were described in terms familiar to medical personnel. In the learning situation, these terms might be describing slightly different experiences. For example, several articles described the use of an observed skills examination to evaluate the learner; this examination was classified as “observed skills clinical examination or OSCE”. These OSCEs might have been more, or less, stringent. In defense of the search strategy, since the objective of the article was to write about what is currently considered case-based learning , this item was used as the search term. In order to classify and further define what exactly is CBL and how it is used, putting into discrete categories the described methods of delivery and evaluation was necessary, or else the review would reduce to a listing of separate articles without being able to provide a meaningful commentary.

CBL is a tool that involves matching clinical cases in health care-related fields to a body of knowledge in that field, in order to improve clinical performance, attitudes, or teamwork. This type of learning has been shown to enhance clinical knowledge, improve teamwork, improve clinical skills, improve practice behavior, and improve patient outcomes. CBL advantages include providing relevance to the adult learner, allowing the teacher more input into the direction of learning, and inducing learning on a deeper level. Learners or students in health care-related fields will one day need to interact with patients, and so education that relates to patient is particularly relevant. Relevance is an important concept in adult education. CBL was found to be used in all continents. Even limiting the search to English and English translations, articles were found on all continuously inhabited continents. This finding demonstrates that the use of CBL is not isolated to Western countries, but is used worldwide. In addition, based on the number and variety of fields of medicine and health care reported, CBL is used across multiple fields.

In reviewing the worldwide use of CBL, several constants became apparent. One is that this involves a case as a stimulant for learning. The second is that advance preparation of the learner is necessary. The third is that a set of learning objectives must be adhered to. A comparison with PBL across several articles revealed that most teachers who use CBL, in contrast to PBL, need to get through a list of learning objectives, and in so doing, must provide enhanced guidance to the learning session. That adherence to learning objectives was evident in most articles. There were varied methods of delivery, depending on the learning situation. That is one of the practical aspects of learning sessions termed case-based learning or CBL. The teachers used cases within their realm of teaching and adapted a CBL approach to their situation; for example, live CBL might be used with medical students, video cases might be used with practitioners. CBL differs from PBL in that it can cover a larger amount of topics because of the stated learning objectives, and guidance from the teacher or facilitator who does not allow unguided tangents, which may delay covering the stated objectives. Contrasting CBL with CBL, in PBL, the focus is on the process of learning as much as the topic, whereas in CBL, the learning objectives are stated at the outset, and both learners and teachers try to adhere to these. Because there are stated objectives at the outset of the learning experience in CBL, these objectives can be tested to see if they are met. These tests of knowledge were explored as methods of evaluation, which varied.

The methods of evaluation ran the range of Kirkpatrick's hierarchy of learning. One of the important aspects of CBL which was explored was that perhaps CBL could induce learning on a deeper level. And so going up the hierarchy of learning, some evaluations were simple surveys of the learners/and or the teachers on how they liked the CBL intervention. Some were tests of knowledge or skills learned. A few studies evaluated practice behavior; that is, going beyond knowledge learned into what behaviors that knowledge induced. The last hierarchy was how the knowledge learned from CBL affected actual patients: a few studies revealed that patient outcomes were affected positively from CBL. Thus, published studies of CBL spanned the hierarchy of learning, from opinions of the activity to actual patients affected by the learning of practitioners.

In summary, CBL was found to be practiced worldwide, by various practitioners, in various fields. CBL delivery was found to be varied to the situation. Methods of evaluation for CBL included all the steps on Kirkpatrick's hierarchy of learning and demonstrated that CBL could be shown conclusively to produce deeper learning.

To repeat the definition included earlier in this review, CBL is a form of learning that involves a clinical case, a problem or question requiring student thought, a set of learning objectives, information given prior and during the learning intervention, and a measured outcome.

CBL imparts relevance to medical and related curricula, is shown to tie theory to practice, and induce deeper learning. CBL is practical and efficient as a mode of teaching for adult learners. CBL is certain to become part of every medical and health profession's curriculum.

Author Contributions

Conceived the concepts: SFM. Analyzed the data: SFM. Wrote the first draft of the manuscript: SFM. Made critical revisions: SFM. The author reviewed and approved of the final manuscript.

Peer Review: Four peer reviewers contributed to the peer review report. Reviewers’ reports totaled 779 words, excluding any confidential comments to the Academic Editor.

Competing Interests: Author discloses no external Funding sources.

Funding: SFM has been selected as a local site primary investigator for a study of a new tissue insert for use in surgical repair of ventral hernia. The study is sponsored by BARD-Davol Inc.

Paper subject to independent expert single-blind peer review. All editorial decisions made by independent Academic Editor. Upon submission manuscript was subject to anti-plagiarism scanning. Prior to publication all authors have given signed confirmation of agreement to article publication and compliance with all applicable ethical and legal requirements, including the accuracy of author and contributor information, disclosure of Competing Interests and Funding sources, compliance with ethical requirements relating to human and animal study participants, and compliance with any copyright requirements of third parties. This journal is a member of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE).

College of Nursing

Driving change: a case study of a dnp leader in residence program in a gerontological center of excellence.

View as pdf A later version of this article appeared in Nurse Leader , Volume 21, Issue 6 , December 2023 . 

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) published the Essentials of Doctoral Education for Advanced Practice Nursing in 2004 identifying the essential curriculum needed for preparing advanced practice nurse leaders to effectively assess organizations, identify systemic issues, and facilitate organizational changes. 1 In 2021, AACN updated the curriculum by issuing The Essentials: Core Competencies for Professional Nursing Education to guide the development of competency-based education for nursing students. 1 In addition to AACN’s competency-based approach to curriculum, in 2015 the American Organization of Nurse Leaders (AONL) released Nurse Leader Core Competencies (updated in 2023) to help provide a competency based model to follow in developing nurse leaders. 2

Despite AACN and AONL competency-based curriculum and model, it is still common for nurse leaders to be promoted to management positions based solely on their work experience or exceptional clinical skills, rather than demonstration of management and leadership competencies. 3 The importance of identifying, training, and assessing executive leaders through formal leadership development programs, within supportive organizational cultures has been discussed by national leaders. As well as the need for nurturing emerging leaders through fostering interprofessional collaboration, mentorship, and continuous development of leadership skills has been identified. 4 As Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) nurse leaders assume executive roles within healthcare organizations, they play a vital role within complex systems. Demonstration of leadership competence and participation in formal leadership development programs has become imperative for their success. However, models of competency-based executive leadership development programs can be hard to find, particularly programs outside of health care systems.

The implementation of a DNP Leader in Residence program, such as the one designed for The Barbara and Richard Csomay Center for Gerontological Excellence, addresses many of the challenges facing new DNP leaders and ensures mastery of executive leadership competencies and readiness to practice through exposure to varied experiences and close mentoring. The Csomay Center , based at The University of Iowa, was established in 2000 as one of the five original Hartford Centers of Geriatric Nursing Excellence in the country. Later funding by the Csomay family established an endowment that supports the Center's ongoing work. The current Csomay Center strategic plan and mission aims to develop future healthcare leaders while promoting optimal aging and quality of life for older adults. The Csomay Center Director created the innovative DNP Leader in Residence program to foster the growth of future nurse leaders in non-healthcare systems. The purpose of this paper is to present a case study of the development and implementation of the Leader in Residence program, followed by suggested evaluation strategies, and discussion of future innovation of leadership opportunities in non-traditional health care settings.

Development of the DNP Leader in Residence Program

The Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) cycle has garnered substantial recognition as a valuable tool for fostering development and driving improvement initiatives. 5 The PDSA cycle can function as an independent methodology and as an integral component of broader quality enhancement approaches with notable efficacy in its ability to facilitate the rapid creation, testing, and evaluation of transformative interventions within healthcare. 6 Consequently, the PDSA cycle model was deemed fitting to guide the development and implementation of the DNP Leader in Residence Program at the Csomay Center.

PDSA Cycle: Plan

Existing resources. The DNP Health Systems: Administration/Executive Leadership Program offered by the University of Iowa is comprised of comprehensive nursing administration and leadership curriculum, led by distinguished faculty composed of national leaders in the realms of innovation, health policy, leadership, clinical education, and evidence-based practice. The curriculum is designed to cultivate the next generation of nursing executive leaders, with emphasis on personalized career planning and tailored practicum placements. The DNP Health Systems: Administration/Executive Leadership curriculum includes a range of courses focused on leadership and management with diverse topics such as policy an law, infrastructure and informatics, finance and economics, marketing and communication, quality and safety, evidence-based practice, and social determinants of health. The curriculum is complemented by an extensive practicum component and culminates in a DNP project with additional hours of practicum.

New program. The DNP Leader in Residence program at the Csomay Center is designed to encompass communication and relationship building, systems thinking, change management, transformation and innovation, knowledge of clinical principles in the community, professionalism, and business skills including financial, strategic, and human resource management. The program fully immerses students in the objectives of the DNP Health Systems: Administration/Executive Leadership curriculum and enables them to progressively demonstrate competencies outlined by AONL. The Leader in Residence program also includes career development coaching, reflective practice, and personal and professional accountability. The program is integrated throughout the entire duration of the Leader in Residence’s coursework, fulfilling the required practicum hours for both the DNP coursework and DNP project.

The DNP Leader in Residence program begins with the first semester of practicum being focused on completing an onboarding process to the Center including understanding the center's strategic plan, mission, vision, and history. Onboarding for the Leader in Residence provides access to all relevant Center information and resources and integration into the leadership team, community partnerships, and other University of Iowa College of Nursing Centers associated with the Csomay Center. During this first semester, observation and identification of the Csomay Center Director's various roles including being a leader, manager, innovator, socializer, and mentor is facilitated. In collaboration with the Center Director (a faculty position) and Center Coordinator (a staff position), specific competencies to be measured and mastered along with learning opportunities desired throughout the program are established to ensure a well-planned and thorough immersion experience.

Following the initial semester of practicum, the Leader in Residence has weekly check-ins with the Center Director and Center Coordinator to continue to identify learning opportunities and progression through executive leadership competencies to enrich the experience. The Leader in Residence also undertakes an administrative project for the Center this semester, while concurrently continuing observations of the Center Director's activities in local, regional, and national executive leadership settings. The student has ongoing participation and advancement in executive leadership roles and activities throughout the practicum, creating a well-prepared future nurse executive leader.

After completing practicum hours related to the Health Systems: Administration/Executive Leadership coursework, the Leader in Residence engages in dedicated residency hours to continue to experience domains within nursing leadership competencies like communication, professionalism, and relationship building. During residency hours, time is spent with the completion of a small quality improvement project for the Csomay Center, along with any other administrative projects identified by the Center Director and Center Coordinator. The Leader in Residence is fully integrated into the Csomay Center's Leadership Team during this phase, assisting the Center Coordinator in creating agendas and leading meetings. Additional participation includes active involvement in community engagement activities and presenting at or attending a national conference as a representative of the Csomay Center. The Leader in Residence must mentor a master’s in nursing student during the final year of the DNP Residency.

Implementation of the DNP Leader in Residence Program

PDSA Cycle: Do

Immersive experience. In this case study, the DNP Leader in Residence was fully immersed in a wide range of center activities, providing valuable opportunities to engage in administrative projects and observe executive leadership roles and skills during practicum hours spent at the Csomay Center. Throughout the program, the Leader in Residence observed and learned from multidisciplinary leaders at the national, regional, and university levels who engaged with the Center. By shadowing the Csomay Center Director, the Leader in Residence had the opportunity to observe executive leadership objectives such as fostering innovation, facilitating multidisciplinary collaboration, and nurturing meaningful relationships. The immersive experience within the center’s activities also allowed the Leader in Residence to gain a deep understanding of crucial facets such as philanthropy and community engagement. Active involvement in administrative processes such as strategic planning, budgeting, human resources management, and the development of standard operating procedures provided valuable exposure to strategies that are needed to be an effective nurse leader in the future.

Active participation. The DNP Leader in Residence also played a key role in advancing specific actions outlined in the center's strategic plan during the program including: 1) the creation of a membership structure for the Csomay Center and 2) successfully completing a state Board of Regents application for official recognition as a distinguished center. The Csomay Center sponsored membership for the Leader in Residence in the Midwest Nurse Research Society (MNRS), which opened doors to attend the annual MNRS conference and engage with regional nursing leadership, while fostering socialization, promotion of the Csomay Center and Leader in Residence program, and observation of current nursing research. Furthermore, the Leader in Residence participated in the strategic planning committee and engagement subcommittee for MNRS, collaborating directly with the MNRS president. Additional active participation by the Leader in Residence included attendance in planning sessions and completion of the annual report for GeriatricPain.org , an initiative falling under the umbrella of the Csomay Center. Finally, the Leader in Residence was involved in archiving research and curriculum for distinguished nursing leader and researcher, Dr. Kitty Buckwalter, for the Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging, the University of Pennsylvania Barbara Bates Center for the Study of the History of Nursing, and the University of Iowa library archives.

Suggested Evaluation Strategies of the DNP Leader in Residence Program

PDSA Cycle: Study

Assessment and benchmarking. To effectively assess the outcomes and success of the DNP Leader in Residence Program, a comprehensive evaluation framework should be used throughout the program. Key measures should include the collection and review of executive leadership opportunities experienced, leadership roles observed, and competencies mastered. The Leader in Residence is responsible for maintaining detailed logs of their participation in center activities and initiatives on a semester basis. These logs serve to track the progression of mastery of AONL competencies by benchmarking activities and identifying areas for future growth for the Leader in Residence.

Evaluation. In addition to assessment and benchmarking, evaluations need to be completed by Csomay Center stakeholders (leadership, staff, and community partners involved) and the individual Leader in Residence both during and upon completion of the program. Feedback from stakeholders will identify the contributions made by the Leader in Residence and provide valuable insights into their growth. Self-reflection on experiences by the individual Leader in Residence throughout the program will serve as an important measure of personal successes and identify gaps in the program. Factors such as career advancement during the program, application of curriculum objectives in the workplace, and prospects for future career progression for the Leader in Residence should be considered as additional indicators of the success of the program.

The evaluation should also encompass a thorough review of the opportunities experienced during the residency, with the aim of identifying areas for potential expansion and enrichment of the DNP Leader in Residence program. By carefully examining the logs, reflecting on the acquired executive leadership competencies, and studying stakeholder evaluations, additional experiences and opportunities can be identified to further enhance the program's efficacy. The evaluation process should be utilized to identify specific executive leadership competencies that require further immersion and exploration throughout the program.

Future Innovation of DNP Leader in Residence Programs in Non-traditional Healthcare Settings

PDSA Cycle: Act

As subsequent residents complete the program and their experiences are thoroughly evaluated, it is essential to identify new opportunities for DNP Leader in Residence programs to be implemented in other non-health care system settings. When feasible, expansion into clinical healthcare settings, including long-term care and acute care environments, should be pursued. By leveraging the insights gained from previous Leaders in Residence and their respective experiences, the program can be refined to better align with desired outcomes and competencies. These expansions will broaden the scope and impact of the program and provide a wider array of experiences and challenges for future Leaders in Residency to navigate, enriching their development as dynamic nurse executive leaders within diverse healthcare landscapes.

This case study presented a comprehensive overview of the development and implementation of the DNP Leader in Residence program developed by the Barbara and Richard Csomay Center for Gerontological Excellence. The Leader in Residence program provided a transformative experience by integrating key curriculum objectives, competency-based learning, and mentorship by esteemed nursing leaders and researchers through successful integration into the Center. With ongoing innovation and application of the PDSA cycle, the DNP Leader in Residence program presented in this case study holds immense potential to help better prepare 21 st century nurse leaders capable of driving positive change within complex healthcare systems.


         The author would like to express gratitude to the Barbara and Richard Csomay Center for Gerontological Excellence for the fostering environment to provide an immersion experience and the ongoing support for development of the DNP Leader in Residence program. This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.

  • American Association of Colleges of Nursing. The essentials: core competencies for professional nursing education. https://www.aacnnursing.org/Portals/42/AcademicNursing/pdf/Essentials-2021.pdf . Accessed June 26, 2023.
  • American Organization for Nursing Leadership. Nurse leader core competencies. https://www.aonl.org/resources/nurse-leader-competencies . Accessed July 10, 2023.
  • Warshawsky, N, Cramer, E. Describing nurse manager role preparation and competency: findings from a national study. J Nurs Adm . 2019;49(5):249-255. DOI:  10.1097/NNA.0000000000000746
  • Van Diggel, C, Burgess, A, Roberts, C, Mellis, C. Leadership in healthcare education. BMC Med. Educ . 2020;20(465). doi: 10.1186/s12909-020-02288-x
  • Institute for Healthcare Improvement. Plan-do-study-act (PDSA) worksheet. https://www.ihi.org/resources/Pages/Tools/PlanDoStudyActWorksheet.aspx . Accessed July 4, 2023.
  • Taylor, M, McNicolas, C, Nicolay, C, Darzi, A, Bell, D, Reed, J. Systemic review of the application of the plan-do-study-act method to improve quality in healthcare. BMJ Quality & Safety. 2014:23:290-298. doi: 10.1136/bmjqs-2013-002703

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