ABSTRACT: Case vignette: A promising complement to clinical case presentations in teaching
Introduction: Case studies are widely used in medical education. They help students recognise and interpret important data coming from the patient’s problem thereby enabling students to arrive at a correct diagnosis and best treatment course. We have used the case vignette method, a variant of the case study method, for teaching family medicine residents, and here we assess their perceptions of its advantages and limitations. Methods: In the case vignette method, residents studied a particular case of interest from the community. Before presenting it to peers, they prepared and circulated a brief case vignette outlining the salient features of the case, the preferred line of management and suggested discussion probes. Structured notes were taken by programme faculty during the presentations, and feedback was obtained from residents. Results: Major advantages perceived by residents were that the case vignette method demanded their active participation in the preparation and presentation of the case. The need to prepare a vignette helped them better organise their thinking and experience peer teaching. However, some felt that the exercise was time consuming and the discussion sometimes wandered from the intended course. Conclusions: The case vignette method helps meet specific learning objectives in teaching sessions. Residents feel that it improves their skills as physicians and teachers. This study finds that case vignettes are a promising complement to existing methods of teaching medicine. Further research is required to more firmly establish this method’s value.