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The Emerging Microbe Project: Developing Clinical Care Plans Based on Pathogen Identification and Clinical Case Studies

    Authors: Lauren A. O’Donnell1,*, Michael W. Perry1,*, Dane’t R. Doup1
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    Affiliations: 1: Mylan School of Pharmacy, Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, PA 15282
    AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION
    • Supplemental materials available at http://jmbe.asm.org
    • *Corresponding authors. Mailing address: Lauren A. O’Donnell, 441 Mellon Hall, 600 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15282. Phone: 412-396-5133. E-mail: odonnel6@duq.edu; Michael W. Perry, 310 Bayer Hall, 600 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15282. Phone: 412-396-4107. E-mail: perrym1@duq.edu.
    • ©2015 Author(s). Published by the American Society for Microbiology.
    Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. December 2015 vol. 16 no. 2 217-222. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v16i2.893
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    Abstract:

    For many students in the health sciences, including doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) students, basic and clinical sciences often appear detached from each other. In the infectious disease field, PharmD students additionally struggle with mastering the diversity of microorganisms and the corresponding therapies. The objective of this study was to design an interdisciplinary project that integrates fundamental microbiology with clinical research and decision-making skills. The Emerging Microbe Project guided students through the identification of a microorganism via genetic sequence analysis. The unknown microbe provided the basis for a patient case that asked the student to design a therapeutic treatment strategy for an infected patient. Outside of lecture, students had two weeks to identify the pathogen using nucleotide sequences, compose a microbiology report on the pathogen, and recommend an appropriate therapeutic treatment plan for the corresponding clinical case. We hypothesized that the students would develop a better understanding of the interplay between basic microbiology and infectious disease clinical practice, and that they would gain confidence and skill in independently selecting appropriate antimicrobial therapies for a new disease state. The exercise was conducted with PharmD students in their second professional year of pharmacy school in a required infectious disease course. Here, we demonstrate that the Emerging Microbe Project significantly improved student learning through two assessment strategies (assignment grades and exam questions), and increased student confidence in clinical infectious disease practice. This exercise could be modified for other health sciences students or undergraduates depending upon the level of clinical focus required of the course.

References & Citations

1. Bowen JL2006Educational strategies to promote clinical diagnostic reasoningN Engl J Med3552217222510.1056/NEJMra05478217124019 http://dx.doi.org/10.1056/NEJMra054782
2. Brown B, Skau K, Wall A2009Learning across the curriculum: connecting the pharmaceutical sciences to practice in the first professional yearAm J Pharm Educ733610.5688/aj730236195131742690889 http://dx.doi.org/10.5688/aj730236
3. Roller R1999Identification of bacterial unknowns b y rRNA sequence similarityAmerican Society of Microbiology MicrobeLibrary
4. Slain D, et al2009Pharmacotherapy Didactic Curriculum Toolkit 20092009 ACCP Pharmacotherapy Toolkit
5. Stewart AL, Buckner IS, Wildfong PL2011A shared assignment to integrate pharmaceutics and pharmacy practice course conceptsAm J Pharm Educ754410.5688/ajpe75344216553983109798 http://dx.doi.org/10.5688/ajpe75344
6. Thistlethwaite JE, et al2012The effectiveness of case-based learning in health professional education. A BEME systematic review: BEME Guide No. 23Med Teach34e42144410.3109/0142159X.2012.68093922578051 http://dx.doi.org/10.3109/0142159X.2012.680939
7. Williams B2005Case based learning—a review of the literature: is there scope for this educational paradigm in prehospital education?Emerg Med J2257758110.1136/emj.2004.022707160467641726887 http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/emj.2004.022707
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2015-12-01
2017-09-22

Abstract:

For many students in the health sciences, including doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) students, basic and clinical sciences often appear detached from each other. In the infectious disease field, PharmD students additionally struggle with mastering the diversity of microorganisms and the corresponding therapies. The objective of this study was to design an interdisciplinary project that integrates fundamental microbiology with clinical research and decision-making skills. The Emerging Microbe Project guided students through the identification of a microorganism via genetic sequence analysis. The unknown microbe provided the basis for a patient case that asked the student to design a therapeutic treatment strategy for an infected patient. Outside of lecture, students had two weeks to identify the pathogen using nucleotide sequences, compose a microbiology report on the pathogen, and recommend an appropriate therapeutic treatment plan for the corresponding clinical case. We hypothesized that the students would develop a better understanding of the interplay between basic microbiology and infectious disease clinical practice, and that they would gain confidence and skill in independently selecting appropriate antimicrobial therapies for a new disease state. The exercise was conducted with PharmD students in their second professional year of pharmacy school in a required infectious disease course. Here, we demonstrate that the Emerging Microbe Project significantly improved student learning through two assessment strategies (assignment grades and exam questions), and increased student confidence in clinical infectious disease practice. This exercise could be modified for other health sciences students or undergraduates depending upon the level of clinical focus required of the course.

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Figures

Image of FIGURE 1

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FIGURE 1

Student responses to pathogen identification questions. Students improved on pathogen identification exam questions after the Emerging Microbe project. In exam 1, given before the Emerging Project, students were asked to identify the most precise method of pathogen identification from a multiple choice question (57% correct) and then briefly justify their answer (49% correct, data not shown). In the final exam, students were asked to name the most precise form of pathogen identification (short answer format, 78% correct) and to justify their choice (54% correct). Individualized learning gains (G) were calculated for each student from the exam scores for related questions (G = (final exam score − exam 1 score)/ (100 − exam 1 score)), and the average individualized learning gain for the class was calculated (G = 0.38; 0.001 by paired -test).

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. December 2015 vol. 16 no. 2 217-222. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v16i2.893
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Image of FIGURE 2

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FIGURE 2

Responses to survey questions before and after the Emerging Microbe Project. Students report increased confidence in researching infectious disease states after completion of the Emerging Microbe Project. Students were asked to complete an anonymous survey before the project was introduced (dark gray bars) and after the project was completed (light gray bars). Median values of three were reported on pre-assignment survey questions (1–5; = 114) and four on post-assignment survey questions (1–5; = 133 for Q1 and Q3–Q5; = 34 for Q2) ( 0.001 for each survey question.) Statistical analysis was applied by Mann-Whitney U test to compare the median response value of the pre-assessment survey questions with the corresponding post-assessment survey questions ( 0.001 for each survey question). VU = Very Uncomfortable, SU = Somewhat Uncomfortable, N = Neutral, SC = Somewhat Comfortable, VC = Very Comfortable.

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. December 2015 vol. 16 no. 2 217-222. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v16i2.893
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