The need for longitudinal clinical reasoning teaching and assessment: Results of an international survey

Med Teach. 2020 Apr;42(4):457-462. doi: 10.1080/0142159X.2019.1708293. Epub 2020 Feb 4.


Background: Clinical reasoning is a key ability essential for practising health professionals. However, little is known about the current global adoption of clinical reasoning teaching and assessment.Purpose: We aimed to provide insights into how clinical reasoning is deliberately taught and assessed in curricula worldwide and to identify needs and perceived barriers for teaching clinical reasoning to students and educators.Methods: A questionnaire was devised by an international expert group and distributed in a large international medical education community. Data were collected in 2018 and analysed using descriptive statistics. We identified themes in free-text responses using content analysis.Results: Three hundred and thirteen responses from 76 countries were collected. Most respondents were from Europe (34%). While the presence of a longitudinal clinical reasoning curriculum was only reported by 28%, 85% stated that such a curriculum was needed. The lack of awareness of the need to explicitly teach clinical reasoning was the most commonly identified barrier. For assessment, the greatest need identified was for more workplace-based assessment.Conclusions: Global respondents indicate the need to implement explicit longitudinal clinical reasoning curricula. Our findings suggest that efforts should be put into improving faculty development, including evidence-based materials on how to teach and assess clinical reasoning.

Keywords: Clinical reasoning education; curriculum planning; faculty development; survey; workplace-based assessment.

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Reasoning*
  • Curriculum*
  • Europe
  • Faculty
  • Humans
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Teaching