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J Vet Med Educ. 2013 Fall;40(3):200-9. doi: 10.3138/jvme.0113-008R.

Clinical reasoning and case-based decision making: the fundamental challenge to veterinary educators.


Confusion about the nature of human reasoning and its appropriate application to patients has hampered veterinary students' development of these skills. Expertise is associated with greater ability to deploy pattern recognition (type 1 reasoning), which is aided by progressive development of data-driven, forward reasoning (in contrast to scientific, backward reasoning), analytical approaches that lead to schema acquisition. The associative nature of type 1 reasoning makes it prone to bias, particularly in the face of "cognitive miserliness," when clues that indicate the need for triangulation with an analytical approach are ignored. However, combined reasoning approaches, from the earliest stages, are more successful than one approach alone, so it is important that those involved in curricular design and delivery promote student understanding of reasoning generally, and the situations in which reasoning goes awry, and develop students' ability to reason safely and accurately whether presented with a familiar case or with a case that they have never seen before.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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