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, 31 (2), 105-11

Teaching Clinical Thinking to First-Year Medical Students


Teaching Clinical Thinking to First-Year Medical Students

Abraham Fuks et al. Med Teach.


Background: The ability to think clearly and critically is necessary to normal human conduct. Particular forms of reasoning characteristic of practitioners of medicine have been studied, but a principled pedagogical framework that also reflects clinical practice has not been delineated.

Aims: The goals are: identify the principles that underlie the clinical thinking of physicians, develop a pedagogical framework, and design and implement curricular modules for medical students in the first year of their studies.

Methods: The authors reviewed prior work on clinical thinking of physicians and medical students as well as reflective pieces by seasoned clinicians. They also examined modalities of logic and inference used by physicians and others. The designed modules were implemented at the Faculty of Medicine at McGill University and linked to training in attentive listening and clinical observation.

Results: Five core features of a pedagogic framework on clinical thinking were developed and used to design and implement a series of teaching modules for first-year medical students.

Conclusions: The core features, and the modules based upon them, can serve for further empirical work on clinical reasoning and lead to modules for advanced students as they progress in their acquisition of expertize.

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