Clinical Reasoning in the MD

Teaching clinical reasoning skills is vitally important in medical education. A recent Consensus statement on the content of clinical reasoning curricula in undergraduate medical education (Cooper et al. 2021) outlined teaching strategies for improving students’ skills and identified five domains of clinical reasoning:

  1. clinical reasoning concepts
  2. history and physical examination
  3. choosing and interpreting diagnostic tests
  4. problem identification and management
  5. shared decision making

Flinders acknowledges and thanks the many clinicians who teach clinical reasoning skills, with a problem-solving approach, through clinical placements and dedicated classes in the MD program. These clinical reasoning sessions are highly interactive and use case vignettes, sometimes with cases that the students found challenging.

In South Australia, Dr Anugrah Chrispal leads a team of clinicians, delivering four sessions for the second-year cohort, in addition to offering diagnostic and management reasoning for third year students during General Medicine  placements, and across all locations for MDRS students.

Dr Derek Louey provides sessions covering contrasting and comparing – chest pain, finding patterns, generating a differential, understanding context and cognitive biases for third year students.

Dr Kishan Pandithage is delivering sessions in the NT, including: history taking – patient and doctor agenda, tricky histories, connecting history to the whole person, logical investigations and interpretation.

Prof Michael Shanahan and A/Prof Stephen Hedger teach clinical reasoning in the Longitudinal Academic Program for third year students.

One of the priorities for MD improvement activity is the transition for students from Year 2 to Year 3 and the commencement of clinical placements in clinical settings. As part of this work, we are establishing a clinical reasoning interest group to clearly articulate where and how clinical reasoning is taught across the medical program, share teaching ideas and develop this area of the curriculum. If you would like to be part of this group, please contact Fiona Bertrand in the Clinician Support Team.

More MD updates from March 2022 >

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Clinical Reasoning MD Teaching