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Plenary Speaker 2020

What do we know about teaching clinical reasoning?

Dr Nicola Cooper

Thinking and decision making in clinical practice (a.k.a. clinical reasoning) has been the subject of a vast amount of research over the last 40 years. While medical schools and postgraduate training programmes teach knowledge, skills and behaviours required to practice medicine, there is a consensus that explicit 'diagnosis education' is missing from curricula. This is a problem, because diagnostic error is a major patient safety issue, and most diagnostic errors occur due to failure to synthesise all the available information - for various reasons. This plenary will give a brief overview of what we know about teaching clinical reasoning and highlight a few key areas to illustrate how what is taught, how it is taught, and when it is taught can facilitate clinical reasoning development more effectively within existing curricula.

Dr Nicola Cooper Dr Nicola Cooper is a Consultant Physician based at the University Hospitals of Derby & Burton NHS Foundation Trust. She is also a Clinical Associate Professor in Medical Education, teaching on the Masters in Medical Education at the University of Nottingham, and is part of a team researching clinical decision making and how best to teach it. Nicola is a training programme director, supervisor, teacher and author. She co-edited the ABC of Clinical Reasoning (Wiley, 2018) and is the chair of the UK Clinical Reasoning in Medical Education group ( which has representation from over half of UK medical schools.