Teaching Matters

PS2 R2b Clinical reasoning: The connection between bioscience and clinical practice

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Teaching Matters 2020 | Presentation Details | 30 November 202030 Nov 2020


Clinical reasoning: The connection between bioscience and clinical practice


Michele Dowlman, School of Nursing, CoHM



Presentation Type

Lightning Presentation


Room 2




Becoming a Registered Nurse requires students to learn to ‘think like a nurse’ (Levett-Jones et al., 2010). ‘The Clinical Reasoning Cycle’ tool (Levett-Jones, 2018), assists students to develop this attribute. Thinking like a nurse can be summed up in two questions; “Why are you seeing what you are seeing?” and “Why are you doing what you are doing?”.

Many students struggle to effectively integrate bioscientific knowledge with clinical skills. Since 2016, bioscience has been taught with clinical skills in single units. However, the content has not been integrated. To achieve the integration of bioscience and nursing content, the Clinical Reasoning Cycle was embedded in workshop materials and assessment tasks; facilitating development of this attribute.

Scenarios were developed which follow patients from presentation, to nursing intervention, and evaluation of care. Students learn to use bioscience to explain the patient presentation and support nursing interventions with rationale. This contextualised the bioscience presented in each module, linking it to nursing interventions, which enhances relevance for students.

Clinical reasoning applies to all health professions. This structure, developed for nursing, has been adopted and adapted by Exercise Science to enhance student capacity. The structure, and its use in teaching and assessment, has application across a variety of health disciplines.

Feedback from students and colleagues in both nursing and exercise science has provided evidence that this approach has supported students to develop the understanding that health care practice must be underpinned by knowledge of the function and dysfunction of the human body.

This presentation will showcase the teaching and assessment materials developed. Feedback from students and colleagues will demonstrate the positive impact this approach has made.


Levett-Jones, T., Sundin, D., Bagnall, M., Hague, K., Schumann, W., Taylor, C., & Wink, J. (2010). Learning to think like a nurse. HNE: Handover for Nurses and Midwives, 3(1), 15-21.

Levett-Jones, T. (Ed). (2018). Clinical reasoning: Learning to think like a nurse (2nd ed). Pearson.

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