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Abstract

Purpose: Allied health profession students must develop critical thinking and problem solving skills to be able to make clinical decisions. The purpose of this paper is to describe an educational model used in a physical therapist education program to improve students’ confidence in clinical decision-making. Methods: The faculty chose topics for each forum and invited specific clinicians to present actual clinical cases to students in small group settings. The small groups spent 30 minutes focused on each case, and then rotated to a different clinician so each had exposure to three scenarios. After presenting subjective clinical information, the clinicians asked open-ended questions designed to encourage the students to think critically and to problem solve using the Patient/Client Management Model. Assessment of Model:Preliminary assessments were completed using a survey and large group debriefing. Survey responses identified that students perceived the forums as beneficial for improving their confidence with critical thinking and problem solving skills. Students identified the forums as a strength of their educational program in debriefing sessions. Conclusion: An educational forum is a teaching method that places students in a situation where they are required to exercise their clinical reasoning skills. The authors believe this interactive educational method can be adapted to improve students’ confidence in clinical reasoning in any allied health profession education program.

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