Implementing problem-based learning in a family medicine clerkship

Evelyn T. Washington, James W. Tysinger, Laura M. Snell, Lawrence R. Palmer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Background and Objectives: Problem-based learning (PBL) has been implemented in the curriculum of many medical schools, but limited information is available about the outcome of this learning technique. The educational intervention presented in this paper implemented a PBL learning component in our third-year family medicine clerkship and measured the outcomes of this curricular change. Methods: One third of the curricular time devoted to didactic teaching in our family medicine clerkship was replaced with PBL activities. Simulated cases were developed and presented to students who, with the aid of faculty facilitators, studied the cases, gathered information about the cases, and developed diagnostic and management plans for the cases. The outcome of the intervention was measured by a) comparing students 'scores on the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME) family medicine clerkship examination to scores achieved by students in the year before PBL was introduced and b) students' evaluations of the relevance and success of PBL in the clerkship curriculum. Results: Students' NBME clerkship examination scores increased from a mean of 66 the year before PBL began to 73 after PBL was implemented. More than 80% of students reported that PBL was a good way to learn family medicine, and 85% reported that the PBL technique provided sufficient information to formulate learning issues. Conclusions: PBL can be introduced into a third-year family medicine clerkship curriculum with general acceptance by students. Students rated the technique highly, and their examination scores improved.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)720-726
Number of pages7
JournalFamily medicine
Issue number10
StatePublished - Nov 1 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Family Practice


Dive into the research topics of 'Implementing problem-based learning in a family medicine clerkship'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this