Communicating clinical reasoning

Rola Ajjawi, Joy Higgs, Lindy McAllister

    Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperChapter in textbook/reference bookpeer-review


    Clinical reasoning is central to clinical practice. Health professionals often need to make decisions based on their professional knowledge and judgment in situations where there are no right answers, and where textbook and research knowledge is insufficient, or needs to be adapted to the particular client (or patient). This is a key aspect of being a professional. The process of reasoning drives practice decisions and actions. Clear communication of reasoning enables clients and clinicians to work together and helps teams to function effectively. Clinical reasoning includes micro decisions, such as: What questions do I need to ask this client? What assessments are appropriate for this client?; and macro (or major) decisions, such as: What are this client's major problems? What is this client's diagnosis and prognosis? How does this client envisage her future after this accident? What is the best management plan for this client? Clinical reasoning also includes the meta-thinking and decision-making that you will constantly undertake during practice as you monitor your thinking. For instance, you will ask yourself: How do I know if the answer the client just gave me is complete? Did he understand my question? How well can I do that test, and can I trust my findings? Do I understand enough about this person and this condition to make a sound decision about care? Do I need help here?
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationCommunicating in the health sciences
    Place of PublicationSouth Melbourne, VIC
    PublisherOxford University Press
    Number of pages10
    EditionThird / 21
    ISBN (Print)9780195579048
    Publication statusPublished - 2012


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