One Approach to Teaching Clinical Reasoning: Theater

Title: One Approach to Teaching Clinical Reasoning: Theater 

Speaker: Kim Meyer, PhD, MPAS, PA-C, DFAAPA, Executive Director, Division of Academic Innovation 

Location: LIB 400 or Zoom  *In person attendance preferred for full participation

Time: 12-1 pm, Friday, Dec 2nd (Lunch starts at 11:45 am) 

RSVP: Go to DAI Events Calendar (Due by 1 pm, Wednesday, Nov 30th) 


Session Objectives: 

  • Explore existing approaches to teaching clinical reasoning. 
  • Create one possible case study for the implementation of Clinical Reasoning Theater in the curriculum. 

Session Overview: 

Clinical reasoning theater, developed by Borleffs, et. al. [Acad Med 2003;78(3):322-5], describes teaching the process of clinical reasoning using “actors” through the portrayal of a conversation between a provider and a patient.  

  • Three actors: the provider, the patient, and the learners (who form the “audience”). The performance occurs in two repeating acts.  
  • ACT I: Communication between provider and patient focused on Hx Taking, PE, etc.  
  • ACT II: “Time out” in which provider explains/ thinks out loud, to reveal the rationale for questions, line of reasoning, and/or need to show empathy.  
  • Audience members (the learners) question and provide suggestions for further dialogue with the patient resulting in another Act I and II cycle.  

Advantages to this approach:  

  • Builds on clinical teacher’s existing skills  
  • Reveals the physician’s “behind the scenes” thinking and decision  
  • Engage the audience (the learners) through Act II  
  • Could be applied to learning in the simulation lab 

Disadvantages to this approach: 

  • Exploration learners’ clinical reasoning is dependent on the clinical teacher’s facilitation skills 

Source: Clinical Reasoning Theater by Borleffs, et al