Exploring procedure-based management reasoning: a case of tension pneumothorax

Raj C. Singaraju*, Steven J. Durning, Alexis Battista, Abigail Konopasky

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Objectives: Management reasoning has not been widely explored but likely requires broader abilities than diagnostic reasoning. An enhanced understanding of management reasoning could improve medical education and patient care. We conducted a novel exploratory study to gain further insights into procedure-based management reasoning. Methods: Participant physicians managed a simulated patient who acutely decompensates in a team-based, time-pressured, live scenario. Immediately following the scenario, physicians perform a think-aloud protocol by watching video recordings of their performance and narrating their reflections in real-time. Verbatim transcripts of the think-aloud protocol were inductively coded using a constant comparative method and evaluated for themes. Results: We recruited 19 physicians (15 internal medicine, one family medicine, and three general surgery) for this study. Recognizing that diagnostic and management reasoning intertwine, this paper focuses on management reasoning's characteristics. We developed three categories of management reasoning factors with eight subthemes. These are Patient factors: Acuity and Preferences; Physician factors: Recognized Errors, Anxiety, Metacognition, Monitoring, and Threshold to Treat; and one Environment factor: Resources. Conclusions: Our findings on procedure-based management reasoning are consistent with Situation Awareness and Situated Cognition models and the extant work on management reasoning, demonstrating that management is inherently complex and contextually bound. Unique to this study, all physicians focused on prognosis, indicating that attaining competency in procedural management may require planning and prediction abilities. Physicians also expressed concerns about making mistakes, potentially resulting from the scenario's emphasis on a procedure and our physicians' having less expertise in the treatment of tension pneumothorax.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)437-445
Number of pages9
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • clinical reasoning
  • management reasoning
  • procedure


Dive into the research topics of 'Exploring procedure-based management reasoning: a case of tension pneumothorax'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this