Journal of Nursing Education

Syllabus Selection: Innovative Learning Activity 

Nursing Students as Television Show Consultants: Media Use for Case Studies

Sandra D. Cleveland, MSN, RN


There is no abstract for this article.


There is no abstract for this article.

Nursing Students as Television Show Consultants: Media Use for Case Studies

The use of nursing case studies has been an effective technique to help nursing students engage in critical thinking and apply it to a multitude of nursing concepts. The student-centered case study approach has received increased attention in nursing education (Diekelmann & Lampe, 2004).


Providing case studies for accelerated, second-degree nursing students is challenging. One challenge is to present this content in a 9-week time frame while providing an active learning environment. Because the students had been taught previously by the same professor in several other courses, they requested that the case studies in the advanced medical-surgical course be presented in a different format. The student feedback provided the impetus for change in case presentation and lecture formats. Goals were established to incorporate the television show case study format, including:

  • Students will identify the various factors within the television show segment that strengthen the nursing diagnoses shared in class.
  • Students will identify similarities and differences of nursing process use in the television show segment and provide rationale.

Students were presented with online versions of the advanced medical-surgical nursing lectures. Each lecture had a modular format, including:

  • A module overview.
  • Module objectives.
  • A written case study.
  • A reading assignment.
  • The online lecture.
  • Sample questions pertaining to the online lecture.

Students were assigned to a group of modules to study. Dates for in-class sessions were identified to review and use additional media resources for case studies.

A situation in a current medical-based television show was used as the basis for the case study. This case study (i.e., compartment syndrome) directly applied to one of the topics within the group of modules. Students were shown this segment of the television program. Students were then directed to use each step of the nursing process to determine how accurately the medical situation was portrayed, to identify inaccuracies or omissions in content, and to evaluate additional nursing strategies that could have been used. In other words, the students performed the role of the television show’s consultants. The in-class-based case studies were used as examination review sessions with the students in a synchronous format. Online-based case studies within the assigned group of modules had a secure, online bulletin board where comments and questions could be posed in an asynchronous environment. Additional follow up of the online case studies occurred during the in-class sessions.


Students described the television consultant format as an innovative tool to present case studies. This interactive experience increased students’ engagement in discussions. They displayed increased application of previous course content in their responses. In addition, students felt more immersed in the experience. One student reported:

I attended that review session lecture and thought that the incorporation of the clip from [the television show] into our lecture format was a great idea because it’s one thing to learn something in a lecture but nothing beats the ability to actually see an example of the topic, be it in a [television] show or a video, to really make the concept stick in your mind. The addition of a video clip into the lecture format brings to life the topic and facilitates easier comprehension and retention.

Reactions from the students about use of the television case study were immediate and positive. The television show segment clarified the concept of compartment syndrome. Many students suggested the use of more television case studies. The combination of online and television-based case studies may represent adjunctive pedagogy that holds promise for better preparing nursing students in critical thought as it relates to advanced medical-surgical concepts.

Sandra D. Cleveland, MSN, RN
McAuley School of Nursing
University of Detroit Mercy


  • Diekelmann, N & Lampe, S2004. Student-centered pedagogies: Co-creating compelling experiences using the new pedagogies. Journal of Nursing Education, 43, 245–247.


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