Last Updated: 5th September 2019

Using case studies for good competency evidence

Producing and reflecting upon case studies can help trainees to demonstrate competency and achieve learning outcomes.

According the UK Centre for Materials Education:

Case studies are an increasingly popular form of teaching and have an important role in developing skills and knowledge in healthcare science. Case studies are a good assessment of knowledge and understanding, particularly with questioning.

Trainees could:

  • Analyse existing case studies with their Training Officer who could question a trainee about their interpretation of the case and the actions they would recommend.
  • Analyse an existing case study, providing a series of structured reflections on the case; for example, suggesting which tests are required. The case could be about a routine procedure or a quality assurance procedure, and the trainee’s analysis could be presented as a report or short summary.
  • Use annotated photographs, case notes, family trees and video to present their findings from case studies as evidence.
  • Analyse or create so-called ‘reverse case studies’ where they start with an end diagnosis and then try and build a case, evidencing what they think the original problem could have been and the steps and decisions taken in order to reach the diagnosis.
  • Build case histories step by step, starting from the very basic outlines of the case and building it up as they learn new skills and knowledge, to show progress in competence.

Further reading:

Case based learning—a review of the literature: is there scope for this educational paradigm in pre-hospital education?

Developing a problem-based learning (PBL) curriculum for professionalism and scientific integrity training

Case Study Teaching Method Improves Student Performance and Perceptions of Learning Gains