Contemplating life.

Experience and clinical reasoning

I would like to share an article with you that I recently found. Please feel free to access the full article (link in the reference) after you have hopefully found interest in the two quotes below.

The paradox of experience

Although experience is often considered as a reliable indicator of physicians’ expertise, many researchers state that experience is not necessarily synonymous with expertise. Several studies underpin this assessment, in many fields of medicine. They show that the physicians’ level of performance in daily clinical tasks is not constantly correlated with their level of experience.

Or, as they say: “Have you got ten years experience, or one year experience repeated ten times?”

I came across this article whilst searching for clinical reasoning – the reasons behind the decisions we make day in, day out. The main focus of this article is not the above quote (but it backs up so much we have all experienced), but the journey in how decisions are made; intuition vs. structured analytical reasoning. May I quote a little more?

Indeed, experimental studies show in both novice and expert physicians that using purely analytical or purely non-analytical strategies leads to lower diagnostic performance than when subjects are asked to use a combination of both processes

There you go. Nice to have the research back you up: walk in to a patients house, get a feel for the situation, get your facts right (history, vital signs etc.), and then compare your subconscious intuitive thoughts with your data that you have consciously acquired and structurally processed – et voila – your patient will benefit.

Now if only there were such a study in a paramedical environment…

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Pelaccia, T., Tardif, J. Triby, E., & Charlin, B. (2011). An analysis of clinical reasoning through a recent and comprehensive approach: the dual-process theory. Medical Education Online 2011, 16: 5890 – DOI: 10.3402/meo.v16i0.5890

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