Inside the black box – an inter-professional education session on how to teach clinical reasoning in others

Mrs Tameeka Robertson1

1Northern Health, Epping, Australia

Background: Northern Health Clinical Educators are often asked to teach clinical reasoning (CR) to their students or learners but receive very little formal training on how.  Clinical reasoning is often thought as complex and difficult to teach with little available allied health specific evidence to guide this process. A needs analysis indicated staff wanted to learn more about this topic.

An inter-professional education program titled ‘Teaching Clinical Reasoning in others’ was developed by the Allied Health Education team and due to its success expanded to nursing and medical staff.

A program was developed to facilitate participants to unpack the process of problem solving from their experience and reflect on this in relation to the journey from novice to expert.  The program requires active involvement and sharing of learning and experiences to benefit the group learning

Method: The education program was developed from a synthesis of literature on clinical reasoning across disciplines, via expert consultation and via participant engagement in the learning process.

Results: 31 participants have attended from allied health, medicine and nursing.   Evaluation data highlighted increased knowledge and confidence from participants in understanding and teaching clinical reasoning.  Qualitative comments highlight the benefit of the inter-professional nature, the importance of thinking about how to teach and self-reflection.

Discussion: This program has highlighted the need for health professionals to undertake explicit training in clinical reasoning and explicit self –reflection regarding their own thinking and problem solving.  We need to invest in the training and support of our clinical educators to ensure we have quality graduates of the future.  This presentation will provide ideas on how to teach clinical reasoning relevant to your context.


I am an Occupational Therapist by background who has been working in public health for the last 12 years.  I have always enjoyed teaching and educating others which led me to complete a Masters in Health Science with electives focusing on teaching and learning.  My current role at Northern Health as the Allied Health Clinical Schools Co-ordinator and Education leader means that I have the opportunity to teach Allied Health staff and students fundamental skills that will shape the future work force.  Clinical Reasoning is a topic i find fascinating and have really enjoyed exploring this area.

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