February 2023 What I’m Thinking About

Reconsidering Context in Clinical Reasoning: How Ecological Psychology Offers New Ways to Explore Interactions Between Clinicians and Clinical Environments.

Jon Ilgen, MD, PhD

Associate Professor, Department of Emergency Medicine
Vice Chair, Faculty Development & Education
University of Washington

Bjorn Watsjold, MD, MPH

Assistant Professor,
Assistant Director, Medical Education Research Fellowship
Department of Emergency Medicine
University of Washington

Date: Tuesday, February 14, 2023

Time: 12:00pm to 1:30pm

Hybrid: Life Sciences Centre 1312 CMR & Zoom*

Zoom Details: For connection details, please email ches.communications@ubc.ca.


The prevailing paradigms of clinical reasoning conceptualize context either as noise that masks, or as external factors that influence, the internal cognitive processes involved in reasoning. Ecological psychology provides several concepts that help us to reimagine the relationship between an individual and their context. This may change the ways in which our understanding of expertise, expert decision making, and the definition of clinical error are inherently linked to interactions between clinicians and the spaces where they work. In this session, we will explore the ways in how ecological psychology provides new language and conceptual frames around clinical reasoning in context, and the ways in which this reframing might change approaches to both education and research.

Biography: Jon Ilgen

Dr. Ilgen is an Associate Professor and Vice Chair for Faculty Development & Education in the Department of Emergency Medicine at the University of Washington. He works clinically at Harborview Medical Center and the UW Medical Center and teaches core clinical skills to medical students in his role as a longitudinal mentor at the UW School of Medicine. His scholarly interests are centered around the growth and refinement of clinical reasoning during training, in particular how clinicians learn to take safe actions in settings of uncertainty. He recently completed the doctoral program at the Maastricht University School of Health Professions Education with a dissertation entitled “Comfort with uncertainty in medical professionals: An exploration of how clinicians experience and manage dynamic problems in practice.”

Biography: Bjorn Watsjold

Bjorn Watsjold is an Assistant Director of the Medical Education Research Fellowship, and leads the resident Health Professions Education track, at the Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle, Washington. His educational research focuses on the intersection of clinical reasoning with cognitive psychology, education theory, and philosophy of science. He has developed serious games and published on their use in health professions education. His past and recent work in collaboration with fellows and junior faculty includes application of cultural humility to generational stereotypes, exploration of interspecialty communication around handoffs, and uncertainty in primary care.

Accredited by UBC CPD

The Division of Continuing Professional Development, University of British Columbia Faculty of Medicine (UBC CPD) is fully accredited by the Continuing Medical Education Accreditation Committee (CACME) to provide CPD credits for physicians.  This one-credit-per-hour Group Learning program meets the certification criteria of the College of Family Physicians of Canada and has been certified by UBC CPD for up to 15.0 Mainpro+® credits. Each physician should claim only those credits accrued through participation in the activity. CFPC Session ID: 197919-001.

RCPSC ACCREDITATION: The CHES Cutting Edge Speaker Series is a self-approved group learning activity (Section 1) as defined by the Maintenance of Certification Program of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.