Using Clinical Case Studies to Teach Biochemistry in a Doctoral Program: A Descriptive Paper


Introduction: Biochemistry has traditionally been taught through lectures and rote memorization paying little attention to nurturing key problem solving skills. The literature on clinical case studies utilized in health education indicates that case studies facilitate and promote active learning, help clinical problem solving and encourage the development of critical thinking skills. Methods: This paper describes a method of using clinical case studies to deepen and solidify the students understanding of biochemical facts and concepts as related to clinical medicine. Discussion: Clinical case studies can be a helpful adjunct for teaching the content of human biochemistry that complements the traditional approach of lecture, textbook and laboratory. The learning issues presented to the students required them to reformulate biochemical concepts in their own words, integrate diverse principles and decide what information was important and what was superfluous. Limitations include a small subset of students riding the coat tails of their more ambitious peers, and biochemistry professors not having the confidence to take the students through a clinical case study because they may feel like they do not have sufficient “clinical expertise”. Conclusion: Clinical case studies are a valuable addition to the traditional methods of lecture, textbook reading and laboratory for teaching biochemistry. More importantly clinical case studies help remind students that what they are learning has relevance in the real world, and may help motivate students to pay more attention to the numerous facts faced in biochemistry.

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McRae, M. (2012) Using Clinical Case Studies to Teach Biochemistry in a Doctoral Program: A Descriptive Paper. Creative Education, 3, 1173-1176. doi: 10.4236/ce.2012.37174.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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