Background: The formal and explicit teaching of clinical reasoning is rarely undertaken in medical schools despite widespread recognition that knowledge acquisition alone may be insufficient to develop good clinical judgement. Previous work studying the effects of such teaching is inconclusive.
Design and methods: A controlled observational study of 4th year medical students considered the effect of a brief teaching intervention on clinical reasoning skills. A validated measure of clinical reasoning - the diagnostic thinking inventory - was used as the outcome measure.
Results: Students participating in the teaching intervention performed significantly better on the diagnostic thinking inventory than control students.
Conclusion: Further research is necessary to evaluate the long-term impact of such teaching.