Clinical Reasoning Terms Included in Clinical Problem Solving Exercises?

Academic Article


  • Background Published clinical problem solving exercises have emerged as a common tool to illustrate aspects of the clinical reasoning process. The specific clinical reasoning terms mentioned in such exercises is unknown. Objective We identified which clinical reasoning terms are mentioned in published clinical problem solving exercises and compared them to clinical reasoning terms given high priority by clinician educators. Methods A convenience sample of clinician educators prioritized a list of clinical reasoning terms (whether to include, weight percentage of top 20 terms). The authors then electronically searched the terms in the text of published reports of 4 internal medicine journals between January 2010 and May 2013. Results The top 5 clinical reasoning terms ranked by educators were dual-process thinking (weight percentage = 24%), problem representation (12%), illness scripts (9%), hypothesis generation (7%), and problem categorization (7%). The top clinical reasoning terms mentioned in the text of 79 published reports were context specificity (n = 20, 25%), bias (n = 13, 17%), dual-process thinking (n = 11, 14%), illness scripts (n = 11, 14%), and problem representation (n = 10, 13%). Context specificity and bias were not ranked highly by educators. Conclusions Some core concepts of modern clinical reasoning theory ranked highly by educators are mentioned explicitly in published clinical problem solving exercises. However, some highly ranked terms were not used, and some terms used were not ranked by the clinician educators. Effort to teach clinical reasoning to trainees may benefit from a common nomenclature of clinical reasoning terms.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Musgrove JL; Morris J; Estrada CA; Kraemer RR
  • Start Page

  • 180
  • End Page

  • 184
  • Volume

  • 8
  • Issue

  • 2