Original Publication
Open Access

Patient-Centered Learning: The Connor Johnson Case—Substance Abuse in a Physician

Published: April 10, 2012 | 10.15766/mep_2374-8265.9146

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Abstract

This is a problem-based learning (PBL) case designed for three 2-hour small group meetings addressing substance abuse in an integrated medical context. It emphasizes the importance of considering substance abuse in the differential diagnosis, even when not obvious, and highlights the issue of substance abuse among physicians. This PBL case involves a patient with substance abuse who is diagnosed in the course of care for a medical problem, emphasizing the importance of considering substance abuse in the differential diagnosis, even when not obvious. Students usually do not consider substance abuse as part of their differential diagnosis initially when addressing a medical problem, so this case helps break down that compartmentalization in their thinking. Also, the patient is a physician, so the case highlights the issue of substance abuse among physicians. This case was piloted in October 2008 in the University of North Dakota School of Medicine & Health Sciences’ second-year class, comprising of approximately 63 students in eight small groups. It has been used for several years since with second-year students at the institution and has been well-received in terms of the educational experience and objectives.

Educational Objectives

By the end of the module, the learner will be able to:

  1. Discuss major risk factors and differential diagnosis for infective endocarditis.
  2. Identify major causative agents and the pathophysiology of both acute and subacute endocarditis.
  3. Understand drug abuse in the physician population, including risks, types of drugs involved, treatment, monitoring, and risk of relapse.
  4. Understand the effects of chronic opioid use on the central nervous system and other organs.
  5. Understand the characteristics of opioid withdrawal and how it is managed.

Author Information

  • Charles E. Christianson, MD, ScM: University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences
  • David L. Carlson, MD: University of North Dakota School of Medicine
  • Marvin Cooley, MD: Altru Health System
  • Jon W. Allen, MD: University of North Dakota School of Medicine
  • Richard C. Vari, PhD, MS, BS: Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine

Disclosures
None to report. 

Funding/Support
Developed as part of the National Institute on Drug Abuse Centers of Excellence for Physician Information program, with funding from NIDA.

Prior Presentations
None to report.



Citation

Christianson C, Carlson D, Cooley M, Allen J, Vari R. Patient-centered learning: the Connor Johnson case—substance abuse in a physician. MedEdPORTAL. 2012;8:9146. https://doi.org/10.15766/mep_2374-8265.9146