Becoming a teacher of clinical reasoning

Robert L. Trowbridge, Andrew P.J. Olson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Diagnostic reasoning is one of the most challenging and rewarding aspects of clinical practice. As a result, facility in teaching diagnostic reasoning is a core necessity for all medical educators. Clinician educators' limited understanding of the diagnostic process and how expertise is developed may result in lost opportunities in nurturing the diagnostic abilities of themselves and their learners. In this perspective, the authors describe their journeys as clinician educators searching for a coherent means of teaching diagnostic reasoning. They discuss the initial appeal and immediate applicability of dual process theory and cognitive biases to their own clinical experiences and those of their trainees, followed by the eventual and somewhat belated recognition of the importance of context specificity. They conclude that there are no quick fixes in guiding learners to expertise of diagnostic reasoning, but rather the development of these abilities is best viewed as a long, somewhat frustrating, but always interesting journey. The role of the teacher of clinical reasoning is to guide the learners on this journey, recognizing true mastery may not be attained, but should remain a goal for teacher and learner alike.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11-14
Number of pages4
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 28 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston 2018.


  • clinical reasoning
  • medical education
  • teaching clinical reasoning


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