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The Translational Curriculum: From Basic Science to Clinical Rotation

Edward C. Klatt, Mercer University School of Medicine

The application of basic science knowledge in clinical practice is challenging and requires years of practice to achieve expertise. How do we encourage our students to translate that knowledge into clinical acumen? Active, independent learners become problem solvers who integrate new information into working knowledge by methods such as discussions or performing tasks. Learning theory applied to an educational process helps define a curriculum adapted to accommodate cognitive load in both short term and long term working memories with progression through novice and intermediate to expert levels. Learning for clinical reasoning is driven by repeated exposure to real case examples that enhance acquisition and storage of knowledge in long-term memory. Students continually develop memory schemes for representing and relating factual knowledge to clinical problems with reasoning strategies. Causal reasoning forward from basic science knowledge alone is an arduous and error prone process. Hence, the clinical reasoning process requires continued practice and pattern recognition, with new information acquired in the context of clinical cases. This session will explore application of learning theory to information acquisition in a basic science curricular context that supports clinical reasoning. Integration of basic sciences into clinical settings requires translation of knowledge into memory schemes that support clinical reasoning. How can basic science education best be translated into the development of patient care expertise on clinical rotations? This session will begin with an overview followed by a small group discussion format and then group wrap up with sharing of experiences, problems, ideas, and potential solutions.

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