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Hello all!

 

I recently was chatting with a friend who is applying to D.O. medical schools.

We were talking about the approach many of these schools have, called Problem Based Learning (or, PBL).

I was very intrigued by this concept and wondered if there are any PA schools with a PBL approach to the curriculum. In a preliminary search, I found a couple PA schools that mentioned PBL on their websites, but I didn't get the impression that they were 100% PBL. (Those schools were: Wake Forest, University of New Mexico, Southern Illinois University, Northwestern University, University of Colorado)

 

Does anybody know of any PA schools that have a 100% PBL approach? This method of learning very much appeals to me because I don't learn well simply sitting in a classroom and being lectured at.

 

Thanks!! 

 

P.S. For a little snippet of the PBL environment, check out this video: 

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PBL is all about the interaction with colleagues when presented with a scenario. it's not really a book learning activity.

A traditional lecture format on shortness of breath would just present facts about asthma, copd, pneumonia, PE, etc. In pbl this would be taught as a series of case studies.

for example : you are presented with a 65 yr old male who has been short of breath for the last 2 hrs.

what would you like to know? (students ask for vs, pmh, meds, ros, etc and are provided with these)

a ddx is created.

what tests would you like? you can have 5. (students argue merits of cxr vs CTA, is a d-dimer needed, etc)

data is collected. a tentative dx is proposed and argued for and against, etc. The moderator then critiques and highlights main points of the case.

I love teaching this way. if I developed a PA program, it would have a very strong PBL component as this mirrors real life clinical scenarios.

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PBL is all about the interaction with colleagues when presented with a scenario. it's not really a book learning activity.

A traditional lecture format on shortness of breath would just present facts about asthma, copd, pneumonia, PE, etc. In pbl this would be taught as a series of case studies.

for example : you are presented with a 65 yr old male who has been short of breath for the last 2 hrs.

what would you like to know? (students ask for vs, pmh, meds, ros, etc and are provided with these)

a ddx is created.

what tests would you like? you can have 5. (students argue merits of cxr vs CTA, is a d-dimer needed, etc)

data is collected. a tentative dx is proposed and argued for and against, etc. The moderator then critiques and highlights main points of the case.

I love teaching this way. if I developed a PA program, it would have a very strong PBL component as this mirrors real life clinical scenarios.

 

Are there any good resources (books, videos, etc) to go over multiple case scenarios?  If possible, from different disciplines of medicine (med, peds, obgyn, neuro, psych, surgery), etc?  

 

Thanks.

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there are lots out there. just search amazon for "case studies in (insert specialty) " and read the reviews to see which are best.

 

Are there any particular ones you may have personally used that you have liked?  

 

Many thanks.

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It's incredibly difficult to do an entire program with only PBL. My degree is from Northwestern where every week is centered around a new PBL case, and every lecture that week is chosen to supplement the PBL case and help you figure out the pathophys/diagnostics/diagnosis/treatment by the time the end of the week comes around. PBL is great because it teaches you how to learn from cases even after PA school, and Northwestern did a good job of teaching this.

 

For you I would recommend doing more research into individual programs - contact the programs and go to their prospective student days so that you can get a better idea of how integral PBL is to their teaching environment. 

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PBL has been a major topic of discussion for at least a decade. It kind of reminds me of "team teaching" and "open architecture" in public schools about 30 years ago.

 

It's a great technique, but it is probably best used as one technique in a program's arsenal. It may not be the best way to convey information, but is an outstanding way to help students integrate the information that they've heard and seen in lectures.

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Chatham University is all PBL.  It can be extremely frustrating, but I learned a lot this way.  Personally, I would have actually preferred a partially PBL approach if I were to do it again.  That said, even though I think it is harder, the school has an excellent reputation for graduating great PAs.  100% PANCE pass rate last year.

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Wake Forest is an ideal mix of PBL a few days a week - it's integral to the program, but not the only way you learn.  You'll also get classroom-based lectures on core topics, gross anatomy, lab medicine, small group sessions to learn physical exam/interviewing skills and more.  I couldn't have asked for a better experience.  

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Are there any good resources (books, videos, etc) to go over multiple case scenarios?  If possible, from different disciplines of medicine (med, peds, obgyn, neuro, psych, surgery), etc?  

 

Thanks.

 

Look up the Resident Readiness series.

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