Teachable Moments in Clinical Practice: Promoting Clinical Judgment

Row of smiling medical students sitting on a bench at a hospital

Using Teachable Moments in Clinical Practice

Margot Thomas, Children’s hospital of Eastern Ontario, Canada

Others have tried to build the critical thinking skill of interpretation by asking students to continue to ponder a seemingly transparent situation until they uncover more subtle details that were previously unnoticed but prove to be highly significant. Here Ms. Thomas applies the idea of ‘seizing a teachable moment,’ a moment when the clinician is making a difficult decision. In the midst of the teachable moment, when asked “Why do you think that?” or “Why did you decide to do that?” the critical thinking task turns to talking aloud about the clinical reasoning process and explaining the clinical judgment. The idea is to capture a near to real time decision process. The result is likely to increase the habit of more closely monitoring the quality of one’s own thinking (metacognition).

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