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Twelve tips for thriving in the face of clinical uncertainty

Authors: Galina Gheilman, Mark Johnson, Arabella L. Simpkin.
Medical Teacher 2019 Mar 26:1-7. doi: 10.1080/0142159X.2019.1579308. [Epub ahead of print]

“Effectively managing clinical uncertainty is increasingly recognized as a goal of medical education. Stress from uncertainty has been associated with depression and burnout in trainees and may also impact patient care.” In this article, authors identify strategies to help healthcare professionals thrive in the face of rising clinical certainty.
They grouped tips into three sections:

  1. Tips for self: Understand your gut reaction to uncertainty; diagnose the type of uncertainty; identify cognitive biases; plan for uncertainty using safety-netting and follow up; don’t worry alone by leaning on your colleagues.
  2. Tips to help guide students and trainees: Set the culture through role modeling while embracing the inherent uncertainty of clinical medicine; promote curiosity over certainty; be explicit about the level of uncertainty; formally integrate uncertainty into medical education curricula.
  3. Tips to implement with patients and in healthcare systems: Discuss uncertainty openly with patients; use patients as allies in shared decision-making; advocate for systems infrastructure to support the embracing of uncertainty.

You can find this article here.

* I have no financial interest to disclose (GP).

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