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When Teaching Analytical Clinical Reasoning, Remember to SPIT

By Todd Guth, MD


A quick and easy approach for teaching analytical clinical reasoning is the SPIT method, an easily remembered mnemonic for helping learners organize their thinking when determining a patient’s differential diagnosis.

SPIT helps learners identify the most

·         Serious,

·         Probable,

·         Interesting, and

·         Treatable 

differential diagnoses.

Apply the SPIT method at the start of a clinical encounter after reviewing the chief complaint and nursing notes; after completing the history and physical; or after laboratory and other test results are returned. It is often rewarding to see how the list changes as additional information is gathered.

Learn more about clinical reasoning. ​