Journal of General Internal Medicine

, Volume 20, Issue 11, pp 1063–1067 | Cite as

Use of critical incident reports in medical education

A perspective
  • William T. BranchJr.Email author


Critical incident reports are now being widely used in medical education. They are short narrative accounts focusing on the most important professional experiences of medical students, residents, and other learners. As such, critical incident reports are ideally suited for addressing values and attitudes, and teaching professional development. This manuscript describes critical incident reports and gives examples of their use, provides a theoretical underpinning that explains their effectiveness, and describes the educational impacts of critical incident reports and similar methods that use reflective learning. The author recommends critical incident reports as an especially effective means to address learners’ most deeply held values and attitudes in the context of their professional experiences.

Key Words

critical incident reports narratives professionalism medical ethics medical education 


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Copyright information

© Society of General Internal Medicine 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of MedicineEmory University School of MedicineAtlantaUSA

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