Guidelines of Writing a Nursing Case Study
To begin, you must have a clear sense of the importance of the nursing case study you wish to describe. As a result, before you begin writing the research, you can gather all of the materials related to the case – clinical notes, lab reports, x-rays, and so on – and form a clear picture of the story that you want to share with your profession. On the most basic level, you may want to ask yourself, “What’s interesting about this case?” Keep your response in mind as you write, because sometimes we get lost in our writing and lose sight of the message we want to communicate.
Another general rule to remember when writing case studies is to stick to the facts. A case study should be a brief description of what actually occurred. Theorizing about the underlying mechanisms of the disease process or treatment should be limited. Field practitioners and students are seldom well-prepared to talk about physiology or pathology. This is best left to subject matter experts. The most valuable resource you can give your colleagues is an accurate record of clinical events.
Finally, keep in mind that a case study is largely a chronicle of a patient’s progress, not a chiropractic tale. No matter how enthusiastic we are, editorial or promotional comments do not belong in a case study. It is best to simply tell the story and let the results speak for themselves. With these considerations in mind, let us begin the case study writing process.
Title on the Case Study
The full title of the article will appear on the title page. Keep in mind that many people will find our article by searching the internet. They may have to decide whether or not to access the full article based solely on the title. A title that is vague or non-specific may not pique their interest. As a result, our title should include the sentence “case study,” “case report,” or “case series,” depending on the contents. The two most common title formats are nominal and compound. A nominal title consists of a single word.
- Other title page contents should follow the general JCCA author instructions. Remember that we would not expect more than one or two authors for a case study. A person must have an intellectual stake in the writing to be identified as an author – at the very least, they must be able to justify and even defend the article. Someone who has only given technical assistance, however helpful, may be noted at the end of the article but will not be identified as an author.
- Key Words. Provide key words for the article to be listed under. These are the words that would be entered into a search engine like Medline to find the article. When possible, we should choose key words from a predefined list of keywords, such as MeSH (Medical subject headings).
Abstract for the Case Study
A narrative abstract is a condensed version of the entire paper. The story abstract contains no headings. The author merely attempts to summarize the paper into a logically flowing tale.
Subheadings are used in a structured abstract. Structured abstracts are becoming more popular for basic scientific and clinical research because they standardize the abstract and ensure that specific information is included. This is extremely helpful for readers who are looking for articles on the internet. A search engine will often display the abstract, and the reader will decide whether or not to download the full article based on the abstract. A structured abstract is more likely to provide the reader with the information they need to decide whether to continue reading the full article, so this style is encouraged. For case studies, the JCCA recommends using organized abstracts.
Narrative and organized abstracts are easier to write once we have completed the rest of the article because they are summaries. We include a structured abstract template and urge writers to use it. Our subheadings will be as follows:
- Introduction: One or two sentences describing the context of the case and summarizing the entire article.
- Case presentation: Several sentences should be used to illustrate the history and results of any exams that have been held. The case’s working diagnosis and management are outlined.
- Management and outcome: Simply explain the patient’s complaint’s progression. Make use of any outcome measures that you used to objectively explain how the patient’s condition developed during the course of management, if possible.
- Discussion: Summarize the preceding subsections and clarify any obvious contradictions.
Introduction for the Case Study
We mentioned at the start of these guidelines that we need to have a clear idea of what is especially interesting about the case we want to describe. This is communicated to the reader in the introduction. It’s a good idea to start by situating the research in a historical or social context. A short description is given if similar cases have been previously reported. If there is anything particularly difficult about the diagnosis or management of the condition we are describing, this is the time to bring it up. We quote the reference every time we refer to a previous study (usually at the end of the sentence). Our introduction should be no more than a few paragraphs long, and our goal is to make the reader understand clearly, but in a general sense, why they should be reading about this case.
This is the section of the paper where we present the raw data. First, we’ll go over the problem that brought the patient to us. It is often beneficial to use the patient’s own words. Following that, we present the critical information gleaned from our historical research. We don’t need to include every detail; just the information that helped us reach our conclusion. In addition, we should try to present patient information in narrative form – full sentences that effectively summarize the results of our questions.
Why is a Patient’s History Important?
In our practice, a history generally leads to a differential diagnosis, which is a short list of the most likely illnesses or disorders underlying the patient’s symptoms. The next step is to summarize the findings of our clinical examination. Again, we should write in an effective narrative style, limiting ourselves to the most important information. Every detail does not need to be included in our clinical notes.
If we use a named orthopedic or neurological test, we can both name and characterize the test (since some people may know the test by a different name). Also, since not all readers will have the same understanding of what constitutes a “positive” or “negative” result, we should characterize the real results. X-rays and other images are useful if they are clear enough to be replicated. Before submitting the image, ensure that any information that could be used to identify a patient has been removed.
We’ll want to present our working diagnosis or clinical impression of the patient at this point, or at the start of the next section.
Management and Outcome
We must clearly characterize the care plan, as well as the actual care given and the outcome.
A reader benefits by knowing how long the patient was under care. Also he or she benefits by knowing number of times a patient was treated. Furthermore, it is important to be as precise as possible when describing the treatment used. Simply stating that the patient received “chiropractic care” does not help the reader. What treatment did we use? If we used spinal manipulation, we should name the technique, if one exists, and explain the manipulation.
Remember that the case study may be read by people who are unfamiliar with spinal manipulation. Additionally, the technique nomenclature is not well standardized even within chiropractic circles.
We may want to include the patient’s own reports of progress or deterioration. However, we should try to use a well-validated method of measuring their progress whenever possible. It may be useful to use data from visual analogue scales (VAS) for pain or a drug use journal for case studies.
In this section, we may want to identify any questions raised by the case. It is not our responsibility to provide a comprehensive physiological explanation for everything we saw. This is almost always impossible. We should also not feel obliged to list or create all of the possible hypotheses that may explain the patient’s condition’s progression. If a well-established piece of physiology or pathology illuminates the case, we will surely include it, but keep in mind that we are writing a clinical chronicle, not a simple scientific paper. Finally, we summarize the case’s key takeaways.
We thank everyone who helped with the case study’s preparation in a brief manner. It is neither appropriate nor customary to express gratitude to the patient (although we appreciate what they have taught us). Thanking those who did not directly contribute to the paper’s preparation, such as professors or colleagues, would be considered excessive and improper.
References should be mentioned in the manner described elsewhere in the author instructions. Only use references that you have read, comprehended, and used to support the case study. Use no more than 15 references unless there is a compelling reason to do so. Avoid using textbooks as references because most readers already know this information. Also, avoid referring to personal communication because readers have no way of verifying this information.
- If we used tables, figures, or photos, we should provide a brief explanation. A good rule of thumb for graphs is that they should contain enough information to be usually decipherable without the use of a legend.
At the end of the manuscript, include tables, figures, and pictures.
Permissions: If we use tables, figures, photos, or significant quotations from other publications, we must include a letter of permission from the publisher.