Use of personal response handsets (PRH) to develop clinical reasoning in undergraduate medical students.

Ruth Cruickshank, Maureen Elizabeth Crosby, Julie Struthers

Research output: Contribution to conferencePoster


The critical analysis of clinical information is the process which leads professionals to diagnoses and clinical decisions. To achieve this level of clinical reasoning and decision making, the essential skill of critical thinking needs to be developed at undergraduate level. A key objective in the final semester of the 3 year Hons BSc Medicine (St Andrews) is to develop critical thinking thereby improving clinical reasoning and decision making.

Finding a method of teaching that gives students insight into the relevance of history taking, examination and investigations in formulating diagnoses, can be challenging. Our poster will describe a successful method using PRH in small groups.

140 students, working in groups of 12, were given a PRH. Groups were presented with a symptom followed by a series of clinical choices. Each student was required to make a clinical decision using the PRH. Over a series of 20 slides containing additional clinical facts, students were required to revise and rethink their initial decisions, gradually working towards a final clinical diagnosis.

We found that the students actively engaged with this method which stimulated discussion and allowed them to practise decision making in an anonymous and safe environment. In addition the method allowed opportunity for reflection upon the factors important to, and the consequences of clinical decision making.

This method lends itself for adaptation to any discipline where decisions play an important role.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2009
EventScottish Clinical Skills Network Conference - , United Kingdom
Duration: 18 Sept 200919 Sept 2009


ConferenceScottish Clinical Skills Network Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


  • critical analysis
  • decision making
  • clinical reasoning


Dive into the research topics of 'Use of personal response handsets (PRH) to develop clinical reasoning in undergraduate medical students.'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this