Students’ educational needs for clinical reasoning in first clerkships

Alf E. R. Arnold
Judith M. Wagter
Thijs T. Wingelaar
Soort article
Original Research
Clinical reasoning,
Educational needs,
Qualitative research,
Verscheen in

Developing clinical reasoning skills early in medical education is important. However, research to uncover students’ educational needs for learning clinical reasoning during clerkships is limited. The aim of our study was to investigate these needs. Focus group discussions with an independent moderator were conducted. Students were included directly after 10 weeks of clerkships. The (verbatim) transcripts were coded manually and discussed by the authors until consensus was reached. Saturation was reached after three focus groups, including 18 students in total. Statistical analysis indicated our sample matched the approached group of 61 students. After a consistency and redundancy check in ATLAS.ti, 79 codes could be identified. These could be grouped into seven key themes: (1) transition to the clinical phase, (2) teaching methods, (3) learning climate, (4) students’ motivation, (5) teacher, (6) patient and (7) strategies in clinical reasoning. Students can adequately describe their needs; of the seven key themes relevant to clinical reasoning five are in line with literature. The remaining two (patient factors and the need for strategy for clinical reasoning) have not been identified before.


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