Strategies to increase clinical reasoning and critical thinking in physiotherapy education

Keiller, L. ; Hanekom, S. D. (2014-04-20)

CITATION: Keiller, L. & Hanekom, S. D. 2014. Strategies to increase clinical reasoning and critical thinking in physiotherapy education. South African Journal of Physiotherapy, 70(1):9-12, doi: 10.4102/sajp.v70i1.258.

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Physiotherapists require clinical reasoning and critical thinking skills in order to perform as effective, first-line practitioners. Concept maps were incorporated into an existing hybrid-PBL module in a Physiotherapy curriculum to address these skills. The aim of this study was to identify whether a change in third year PBL feedback sessions would have an impact on the critical thinking / clinical reasoning skills of undergraduate students before they enter the final (4th) year clinical rotation. In this cross-sectional descriptive study the clinical reasoning / diagnostic thinking skills of two forth year cohorts of students were compared pre and post intervention. The Diagnostic Thinking Inventory (DTI) and Self-Assessment Clinical Reflection and Reasoning (SACRR) instruments were used. The cohort of students scored high on both measurement instruments both pre and post-implementation. While there were no differences in composite score between the groups, individual items on the SACRR had a tendency to differ. No statistical difference in pre and post-scores was observed. The findings of this study have highlighted the need for investigation into the implementation of these strategies as well as the method of application. Comparison to similar cohorts in other South African universities could further highlight methods for improving strategies to enhance clinical reasoning and critical thinking.

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