Introduction Medical student assessments frequently use objective structured clinical examinations (OSCE)s as they are generally viewed reliable and valid assessment tools. However they only provide a snap-shot, do not reflect real clinical practice and in general, students become well rehearsed at OSCE techniques. We re-introduced the long case as a formative assessment.
Methods We devised an assessment centred on professionalism and clinical skills. After the assessment personal, directed feedback and a letter on overall performance was dictated, typed and given to each student. Overall feedback on long case experiences was obtained from 18 students.
Results 83% of students (15) thought the long case was appropriate to their learning needs, 94% (17) stated it added to their neurology experience, 44% (8) were introduced to new conditions, 83 % (15) said it stimulated interest and 83% described the long case as enjoyable. All students stated they would like to participate in future long cases, and suggested it be adopted by other specialities.
Conclusion We believe the long case should be resurrected as an assessment and teaching tool. Overall it seemed to increase student confidence, stimulated interest and self-directed learning, and allows personal and directed feedback. Its use with other assessment tools would reflect the multifaceted assessments and professional development at a postgraduate level. If nothing else, we should aim to resurrect it because the students like it.
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