Some Pragmatic Tips for Dealing With Clinical Uncertainty Purpose This article proposes some recommendations to enable clinicians to balance certainty and uncertainty when evaluating the currency and effectiveness of their treatment approaches. Method I offer the following advice: (a) Question the authority of the information previously learned in one’s career; (b) be cognizant of what we ... Clinical Forum
Clinical Forum  |   January 01, 2011
Some Pragmatic Tips for Dealing With Clinical Uncertainty
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Nan Bernstein Ratner
    The University of Maryland, College Park
  • Contact author: Nan Bernstein Ratner, University of Maryland, Hearing and Speech Sciences, 0100 Lefrak Hall, College Park, MD 20742. E-mail: nratner@hesp.umd.edu.
Article Information
Development / Speech, Voice & Prosodic Disorders / Fluency Disorders / Balance & Balance Disorders / Practice Management / Professional Issues & Training / Normal Language Processing / Clinical Forum
Clinical Forum   |   January 01, 2011
Some Pragmatic Tips for Dealing With Clinical Uncertainty
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, January 2011, Vol. 42, 77-80. doi:10.1044/0161-1461(2009/09-0033)
History: Received May 26, 2009 , Accepted September 11, 2009
 
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, January 2011, Vol. 42, 77-80. doi:10.1044/0161-1461(2009/09-0033)
History: Received May 26, 2009; Accepted September 11, 2009
Web of Science® Times Cited: 1

Purpose This article proposes some recommendations to enable clinicians to balance certainty and uncertainty when evaluating the currency and effectiveness of their treatment approaches.

Method I offer the following advice: (a) Question the authority of the information previously learned in one’s career; (b) be cognizant of what we do not yet know about best clinical practice; (c) understand that knowledge of “best practices” is both temporary and relative; (d) enable access to new information by the use of electronic alerts; (e) be flexible in reading new clinical reports, keeping an open mind as to their value; (f) get the clinically relevant details of new approaches by reading the full reports; and (g) employ, and then evaluate the outcomes of, new approaches used in treating individuals on our caseload.

Results Examples are provided to show that proactive participation in research-alert programs can enable clinicians to access emerging, clinically relevant information, some of which is controversial. Staying abreast of such information is more efficient than performing guided searches for information as challenging cases arise.

Conclusions Applications of these recommendations should enable practicing clinicians to entertain new, clinically useful concepts while not taxing the limited time that clinicians typically have to engage in continuing education.

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