Major Depressive Disorder Case Study


Prepare your students for licensure and real-world practice with this salient scenario that contextualizes nursing care and priority setting with a mental health patient with major depression.

SKU: N/A Category:


Case Study Scenario:

Marilyn Smith is a single, African American 28-year-old female who presents to the emergency department with complaints of “feeling crummy” for the past six months.  She reports that she no longer feels like doing any of the things she used to enjoy. “It all seems so pointless.” 

She can’t even bother to eat most days and has lost weight recently.  Although she has no energy, she finds it difficult to both fall sleep and stay asleep.  Even when she does manage to fall asleep, she never feels rested when she awakes.  She reports having difficulty at work as a computer support person because it is so hard for her to concentrate.

Last week she called in sick and spent the day in bed crying off and on all day.  Last night she found herself crying again and this time she also thought about suicide, which scared her and prompted a visit to the ED. “I don’t want to live like this anymore.  I feel like I will never be happy again.”

Each case study has two levels of complexity to use at a fundamental or advanced level to strengthen and develop clinical judgment skills!

  • SKINNY Reasoning level: Concise and versatile level that can be used in class and clinical post-conference to apply knowledge and make learning active!
    • Has 2 parts-2 pages each
    • Basic clinical reasoning skills include noticing what is most important, interpreting its meaning, and priority interventions
  • UNFOLDING Reasoning level: Increased complexity that is best suited for advanced students or clinical replacement activity.
    • 8-10 pages in length
    • Higher-level clinical reasoning skills including problem recognition, SBAR communication, and an unfolding change of status

Why KeithRN Case Studies?

KeithRN clinical reasoning case studies provide educators with the following innovations that make them valuable tools for developing clinical judgment:

  • Provide a consistent framework of higher-level, open-ended questions (no multiple choice!) that use the nursing process with Tanner’s Clinical Judgment Model (which aligns with the NGN model).
  • Use complex, real-world patient scenarios as a case-based, low-fidelity simulation.
  • Unfold sequentially, just like a nurse experiences patient care in practice.
  • Replicate clinical decision-making in the classroom without using manikins or a simulation skills lab.
  • Include comprehensive answer key.

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