Health Sciences Education Rounds - Emotional Is Not Irrational: Rethinking The Role Of Emotions In Learning And Clinical Skills


McIntyre Medical Building Meakins Amphitheatre, 5th floor, 3655 promenade Sir William Osler, Montreal, QC, H3G 1Y6, CA

This event will be live-streamed

By end of the presentation, participants should be able to:

  • Present an overview of the relationship between emotions and cognitive processes;
  • Gain an appreciation for the integral role of emotions in clinical learning and performance;
  • Describe the implications of this research for teaching in emotional settings, such as simulation-based education;

In caring for patients, clinicians and trainees are constantly confronted with emotional events: stress in situations of uncertainty, anger at a perceived injustice or sadness at an undesired patient prognosis. In many of these emotional situations, clinicians and trainees must obtain and interpret information, make judgments regarding treatment options, and remember previously learned information. Evidence from the neurosciences indicates that emotions have a significant impact on how we perceive the world around us, what we pay attention to, what we remember, as well as our judgments and decision-making. However, discussions of emotions in the health professions are predominantly relegated to the wellness realm, where educators are concerned with the impact of training and practice on mental health. The roles of emotions on clinical thinking, crisis management, reasoning and learning are rarely broached. Given that medical practice and training often occur in emotional settings, we need to understand how clinicians’ emotional states affect their ability to interpret information, make decisions, and remember critical information. This greater understanding will, in turn, shape how we teach, provide feedback and debrefing, as well as how we assess our learners. The presentation will present an overview of the research on the relationship between emotions and cognition, as well as the implications for health professions education and clinical practice.

Vicki LeBlanc, PhD, is Chair and Professor of the Department of Innovation in Medical Education at the University of Ottawa, and Director of the University of Ottawa Skills and Simulation Centre. She has over 20 years experience leading research into a) optimizing the use of simulation in health professions education and b) the effects of emotions and stress on the performance of health professionals and front line workers. She has authored over 100 peer-reviewed publications, and regularly presents her work nationally and internationally. In addition to her research program, she works with the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada to advance simulation-based education nationally and internationally, and serves as an Associate Editor of the journal Advances in Health Sciences Education


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