Search for school

Overview of Clinical Decision Making in Nursing

Clinical decision making is a critical skill for every nurse working in a medical facility. Nursing requires critical thinking skills and immediate decision making skills based on the situation. When a nurse is not able to make decisions about patient care, it can result in severe consequences. A clinical setting requires a nurse to make choices about the needs of patients and speak up about those needs as quickly as possible to avoid complications.

Basics of Decision Making in Clinical Practice

While a nurse is not the only medical professional making decisions about patient health, nursing requires critical thinking skills and decision making skills to properly support a medical doctor. The basics of clinical decision making are the foundation of vital nursing skills that are applied at every level of health care.

According to the University of California at San Diego, clinical decision making is a process that nurses and doctors apply to various situations. It is about determining what a patient needs based on the situation and when the patient will need the particular healthcare service.

Depending on the clinical setting, a nurse may or may not be responsible for the majority of decisions. In most cases, a nurse will provide minor medical services while waiting for a physician to make a final diagnosis and provide the decision about the next step of patient care.

In nursing, the decision making process is primarily related to representing the needs and requests of patients. A physician may not always have the time to provide all of the care a patient needs, so a nurse must make decisions based on the diagnosis of a doctor and any directions provided to help improve the comfort level of a patient.

Gaining Knowledge to Make Educated Choices

Clinical decision making is a vital part of nursing because a doctor is not always available to provide immediate care. Nurses will need to understand the situation and sometimes make instant decisions about the appropriate treatment to stabilize or help a patient until a physician can provide services.

According to Ida Torunn Bjork and Glenys A. Hamilton on Hindawi.com, a nurse must have a broad knowledge base related to healthcare services and the potential complications of different actions. Without a broad base to draw from, it is difficult to make educated or sound decisions about a patient’s immediate healthcare needs.

In clinical practice, a nurse can find that most situations arise that require fast decision making skills. Gaining knowledge starts with the basic education every registered nurse is expected to learn. Unfortunately, the educational standards only provide the foundation for healthcare services. Since nurses also make decisions about communication, policies and intervention, knowledge must consider other facets of working with patients or other healthcare professionals.

According to Dr. Maria Muller-Staub on Nanda.org, nurses must apply diagnostic skills with the therapeutic reasons for actions and the best ethical choice based on the individual situation. By using a combination of diagnosis, ethics and possible therapies, a nurse can make sound decisions about patient health and wellness.

Applying Decision Making Skills

After gaining a broad base of information based on experience, education and research into possible solutions, a nurse is able to apply critical thinking skills to any situation. According to NursingTimes.net, using evidence and experience to make a decision helps reduce the uncertainty of a decision.

Applying the critical thinking skills and decision making skills to a clinical practice is the responsibility of a nurse. It is sometimes necessary to make immediate choices and then apply the decision to the situation to provide better patient care services. A nurse is responsible for the health of patients under his or her care, which means it is necessary to make choices based on the needs of the patient.

Clinical decision making is about the health of patients, the ethical solutions to the problems that arise and the research that provides possible answers. A nurse must gain knowledge about several areas of study and then apply the information to appropriate situations as problems arise.

Nursing Scholarships

American Assembly for Men in Nursing (AAMN) American Cancer Society Doctoral Degree Scholarships in Cancer Nursing Gallagher Student Health Careers Scholarship
The Gates Millenium Scholars (GMS) National Black Nurses Association (NBNA) National Student Nurses’ Association (NSNA)
New Careers in Nursing (NCIN) Nurse Corps Scholarship (NCS) Nurses of Tomorrow
Nursing Economics Foundation Tylenol Future Care Scholarship American Holistic Nurses Association
Thank you for sharing your preferences.
You can find other options through our sponsored listings below!
Quick Fact
In 2017, workers with a bachelor's degree or higher had almost twice as much
median earnings per week than workers with only a high school diploma*.
*Bureau of Labor Statistics

Lincoln Tech

Lincoln Tech is your LINC to a new career!

Programs:

  • Electrical/Electronics
  • Collision Repair and Refinishing
  • Automotive Technology

Florida Career College

Train for the real-world skills that help you launch a successful technology or healthcare career with a degree, or diploma from Florida Career College.

Programs:

  • Computer and Network Technician (11-month diploma program)
  • Medical Assistant Technician (10-Month diploma program)
  • Patient Care Technician (10-month diploma program)
  • And more...

Southern Technical College

Southern Technical College provides education and training in a variety of medical and technical areas that enable graduates to obtain entry-level employment.

Programs:

  • Diploma - Veterinary Assisting
  • Patient Care Technician
  • Applied Electronics Technology- HVAC Major (Diploma)
  • And more...

UEI College

At UEI College, we want you to succeed. We’re like a family and we want you to be a part of it.

Programs:

  • HVAC Technician (11-month diploma program)
  • Business Office Administration (10-Month Diploma Program)
  • Medical Office Specialist (10-Month Diploma Program)
  • And more...

CollegeAmerica

The Secret to Getting Ahead Is Getting Started

Congratulations! Your interest in CollegeAmerica® is an important first step toward changing your life. A career-focused degree is the key to a new career with a potentially higher income, better benefits, and more satisfaction.

Programs:

  • Graphic Arts - Information Design Emph (BS) - Offered Online through Independence University
  • Health Services Mgmt (BS) - Offered Online through Independence University
  • Business Admin - Technology Emphasis (BS) - Offered Online through Independence University
  • And more...

Los Angeles Film School

Get the career of your dreams with an education from the Los Angeles Film School.

Programs:

  • Associate of Science, Film
  • Bachelor of Science, Entertainment Business
  • Bachelor of Science, Film
  • And more...

California College San Diego

The Secret to Getting Ahead Is Getting Started

Congratulations! Your interest in California College San Diego® is an important first step toward changing your life. A career-focused degree is the key to a new career with a potentially higher income, better benefits, and more satisfaction.

Programs:

  • Business Admin - Technology Emphasis (BS) - Offered Online through Independence University
  • Software & Mobile Apps Dev (BS) - Offered Online through Independence University
  • Nursing (RN completion to BS) - Offered Online through Independence University
  • And more...

Platt College

Turn Your Passion Into A Career with Platt!
 
At Platt College, we encourage our students to follow their passions, wherever they may lie, to find a career they love. You’ll find a supportive learning environment and career-focused training designed to help you gain the knowledge and hands-on training you need to succeed. 

Programs:

  • Veterinary Technology - Associates
  • Pharmacy Technician
  • Business Management
  • And more...

Related Post

How to Obtain a Career in Correctional Nursing

Choosing to become a corrections nurse is a decision that should not be taken lightly. A corrections nurse is responsible for attending to inmates at correctional facilities across the country.

Why Taking a NCLEX Refresher Course is Important

Every licensed nurse in the United States has gone through the grueling experience of taking the National Council Licensure Examination, or NCLEX, and most likely every nurse can verify that an NCLEX