Refining Diagnostic Reasoning and Avoiding Cognitive Errors in Acutely Ill Patients

Author(s): Brown Helen F

Contact Hours 2.12

CERP A 2.12

Expires May 31, 2026

Topics: Decision-making, Evidence-Based Practice

Population: Lifespan

Role: APRN

Member: Free
NonMember: $10.00

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Activity Summary

Required reading for all learners: Implicit Bias impacts patient outcomes

Developing the differential diagnosis is challenging for the novice to expert advance practice nurses. The benefits and risk of specific diagnostic reasoning skill such as heuristics, pattern recognition, or algorithms in establishing a patient’s diagnosis will be explored. Case studies will be used to to challenge the participant to develop a differential diagnosis and implement a plan of care. As each case is concluded a cognitive analysis is performed to assess for cognitive errors.


  • Analyze the skill set required by a practitioner to make a judgment based on a patient’s presentation on the diagnosis and management.
  • Examine the elements, needed to develop a differential diagnosis for a patient based upon their symptomology.
  • Identify the benefits and risks of applying specific diagnostic reasoning skills in establishing a patient’s diagnosis.

Continuing Education Disclosure Statement

Successful Completion

Learners must attend/view/read the entire activity, read Implicit Bias impacts patient outcomes, and complete the associated evaluation to be awarded the contact hours or CERP. No partial credit will be awarded.


The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses is accredited as a provider of nursing continuing professional development by the American Nurses Credentialing Center's Commission on Accreditation.

Provider approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing, Provider number CEP 1036, for 2.12 contact hours.

Accreditation refers to recognition of continuing education only and does not imply AACN, ANCC, or CBRN approval or endorsement of any commercial products discussed or displayed in conjunction with this educational activity.


Any relevant relationship between an ineligible company and an individual with the ability to influence clinical content will be identified by the Nurse Planner within the activity. Any relevant relationship between an ineligible company and an individual with the ability to influence clinical content has been mitigated.

AACN programming meets the standards for most states that require mandatory continuing education contact hours for license and/or certification renewal. AACN recommends consulting with your state board of nursing or credentialing organization before submitting CE to fulfill continuing education requirements.

Refund Policy

Continuing Education Activities are nonrefundable.