Balancing Certainty and Uncertainty in Clinical Practice Purpose In this article, I question how practitioners can balance the certainty and confidence that they can help their patients with the uncertainty that makes them continually question their beliefs and assumptions. Method I compare the mechanisms of science and models of clinical practice that may help practitioners ... Clinical Forum
Clinical Forum  |   January 2011
Balancing Certainty and Uncertainty in Clinical Practice
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Alan G. Kamhi
    University of North Carolina–Greensboro
  • Contact author: Alan G. Kamhi, Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, 300 Ferguson Building, UNCG, Greensboro, NC 27402. E-mail: agkamhi@uncg.edu.
Article Information
Research Issues, Methods & Evidence-Based Practice / Clinical Forum
Clinical Forum   |   January 2011
Balancing Certainty and Uncertainty in Clinical Practice
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, January 2011, Vol. 42, 59-64. doi:10.1044/0161-1461(2009/09-0034)
History: Received May 26, 2009 , Revised September 11, 2009 , Accepted October 9, 2009
 
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, January 2011, Vol. 42, 59-64. doi:10.1044/0161-1461(2009/09-0034)
History: Received May 26, 2009; Revised September 11, 2009; Accepted October 9, 2009
Web of Science® Times Cited: 9

Purpose In this article, I question how practitioners can balance the certainty and confidence that they can help their patients with the uncertainty that makes them continually question their beliefs and assumptions.

Method I compare the mechanisms of science and models of clinical practice that may help practitioners achieve the right balance between total acceptance of the status quo and an open willingness to explore and accept new ideas.

Conclusion Clinical practice, unlike science, has no independent self-correction mechanism that leads to consensus about best clinical practices. Evidence-based models provide principles and guidelines for clinical practice, but ultimately, clinical decisions may be influenced most by a practitioner’s epistemology (belief systems) and propensity for rational thinking.

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