How do gut feelings feature in tutorial dialogues on diagnostic reasoning in GP traineeship?

Tuesday, December 24th, 2013

Abstract: In GP traineeships in the Netherlands, trainees mostly see patients alone but regularly consult with their supervisors to discuss patients and problems, receive feedback, and improve their competencies. In the present study, we examined the discussions of supervisors and their trainees about diagnostic reasoning in these so-called tutorial dialogues and how gut feelings feature in these discussions. 17 tutorial dialogues focussing on diagnostic reasoning were video-recorded and transcribed and the protocols were analysed using a detailed bottom-up and iterative content analysis and coding procedure.

Results: The dialogues were usually analytical reflections on a trainee’s diagnostic reasoning. A hypothetico-deductive strategy was often used, by listing differential diagnoses and discussing what information guided the reasoning process and might confirm or exclude provisional hypotheses. Gut feelings were discussed in 7 dialogues. They were used as a tool in diagnostic reasoning, inducing analytical reflection, sometimes on the entire diagnostic reasoning process.The emphasis in these tutorial dialogues was on analytical components of
diagnostic reasoning.

Conclusions: Discussing gut feelings in tutorial dialogues seems to be a good educational method to familiarize trainees with non-analytical reasoning. Supervisors need specialised knowledge about these aspects of diagnostic reasoning and how to deal with them in medical education.

A manuscript with a detailed report of this study has already been submitted.