Clinical Reasoning Thread

Thread Description

Clinical reasoning is a fundamental skill for medical professionals, enabling accurate diagnoses and effective patient care. By understanding the components of clinical reasoning and employing strategies to improve this skill, future and practicing physicians can enhance their ability to provide optimal patient outcomes.

The clinical reasoning thread utilizes the current and evolving understanding of the cognitive processes involved in clinical reasoning (e.g., script and dual process) to reflect how medicine is practiced and how clinicians use resources. The thread addresses clinical reasoning as a cognitive activity (synthesis of information to generate a diagnosis and treatment plan), a contextual activity (occurring in "real world" with unique situations where context needs to be taken into account) and a "socially mediated activity" (future physicians forming a professional identity and learning to work in communities of practice).

The clinical reasoning thread spans the first three years of medical education. However, the thread emphasizes and relays that clinical reasoning is a lifelong learning process, and ongoing practice and reflection are key to mastering this critical skill. As part of the Longitudinal Ambulatory Care Experience (LACE) curriculum, students are encouraged to incorporate and reflect on clinical reasoning principles discussed in the classroom during their LACE sessions, throughout their third- and fourth-year clerkships and beyond.

Thread Contact

E. Caroline McGowan, MD, MSc