Showing Your Thinking: Using Mind Maps to Understand the Gaps Between Experienced Emergency Physicians and Their Students
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Background: Clinical teaching faculty rely on schemas for diagnosis. When they attempt to teach medical students, there may be a gap in the interpretation because the students do not have the same schemas. The aim of this analysis was to explore expert thinking processes through mind maps, to help determine the gaps between an expert's mind map of their diagnostic thinking and how students interpret this teaching artifact. Methods: A novel mind-mapping approach was used to examine how emergency physicians (EPs) explain their clinical reasoning schemas. Nine EPs were shown two different videos of a student interviewing a patient with possible venous thromboembolism. EPs were then asked to explain their diagnostic approach using a mind map, as if they were thinking to a student. Later, another medical student interviewed the EPs to clarify the mind map and revise as needed. A coding framework was generated to determine the discrepancy between the EP-generated mind map and the novice's interpretation. Results: Every mind map (18 mind maps from nine individuals) contained some discrepancy between the expert's mind and novice's interpretation. From the qualitative analysis of the changes between the originally created mind map and the later revision, the authors developed a conceptual framework describing types of amendments that students might expect teachers to make in their mind maps: 1) substantive amendments, such as incomplete mapping; and 2) clarifications, such as the need to explain background for a mind map element. Conclusion: Emergency physician teachers tend to make jumps in reasoning, most commonly including incomplete mapping and maps requiring clarifications. Educating EPs on these processes will allow modification of their teaching modalities to better suit learners.