Illness Scripts

What is the difference between a Novice and an Expert?

One of the primary differences between novice and expert physicians is the number of illness scripts experts have developed over the years. These patterns are similar to algorithms, but more individualized to the expert’s experience and personal style. The more experienced the expert, the more shortcuts will be included in the individual’s patterns because of automaticity (unconscious knowledge).

Teaching Illness Scripts

You can assist learners in a clinical setting to develop their own patterns by asking them to graph common illnesses as the progress through their training. These graphs can be kept in a binder and added to as the learner increases their knowledge. You can remind them that the graph will be useful for studying for final exams. Both text-based and visual representations are acceptable depending on the student’s personal learning preference. Sophisticated computer users might want to use online tools such as Mind Meister or NovaMind.
Caution: Remember this is not your illness script; it is the student’s. It will not contain all the knowledge in your brain, nor will it look like what you draw on the board. This is also a developmental tool which will improve over time and experience.
To see examples of Illness maps, please see
Mind Maps in Medicine
Med Maps
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