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Case Discussion

ARTICLE IN J. VET. MED. EDUCATION ON DEVELOPMENT OF CLINICAL REASONING SKILLS

A recent study by Vinten et al. in the J. Vet. Med. Education documented the outcome of focus groups among faculty, staff, and recent graduates of the  University of Nottingham School of Veterinary Medicine and Science (SVMS) on the adequacy of current training on clinical reasoning skill.  One conclusion was that student development in this skill would be enhanced through increased responsibility for the outcome of clinical decisions within the training program.  Furthermore, financial issues were felt to be given too little shrift during training leading to less preparedness when faced later with actual practice decisions.

The fundamental message from this study supports the idea of consistently providing students practice at “real-life” practice in clinical decision-making.  A parallel question follows naturally, but is not addressed by this study; that is, since veterinarians and other medical professionals are constantly making decisions, some with quite high stakes, why are we as medical educators not carving out more time for students to practice these skills with cases that include all of the messy aspects of reality?  If we did, we would include cases with distracting information (inconsistent or missing data from lab tests), weave in the uncomfortable reality of a client’s financial situation, and other ethical dilemmas of a professional. The dilemma for many veterinary educators becomes….what can be cut from the curriculum to make room for this kind of training?

Abstract