An Elective Course in Differential Diagnostics
American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education
Objective. To design an elective course to teach the principles of differential diagnostics to secondyear pharmacy students, critically evaluate the benefits of this approach to self-directed learning, and assess obstacles to implementation that other programs may encounter. Design. Students attended seven 2-hour class sessions in which the instructor presented a chief complaint, and the class researched and discussed possible causes and arrived at the accurate diagnosis. Each student also was
... ssigned a unique, simulated patient case to work on outside of class. Students asked questions and researched the answers, providing a written rationale for needing the information and the source of the information. Students gave a 10-minute presentation on their diagnosis and treatment recommendations during the last class session. Assessment. All students (N 5 21) successfully determined their patients' diagnoses and made appropriate treatment recommendations. Fifteen students reported that the most valuable information in solving their case was subjective rather than objective in nature (ie, interviewing the patient rather than reviewing laboratory test results). The majority of the 15 students who completed a post-course survey instrument agreed or strongly agreed that this elective allowed them to practice varied skill sets and integrate past and future curricular content. Conclusion. PharmD students may benefit from instruction in the basic principles of differential diagnostics.