Journal article

Clinical intuition in the nursing process and decision-making : A mixed studies review

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Publication Details

Author list: RÖNNBERG L, RÖNNBERG L, RÖNNBERG L, MELIN-JOHANSSON T, MELIN-JOHANSSON C

Publication year: 2017

Start page: 3936

End page: 3949

Number of pages: 14

ISSN: 0962-1067

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jocn.13814

View additional information: View in Web of Science


Abstract

Aims and objectives

To review what is characteristic of registered nurses’ intuition in clinical settings, in relationships and in the nursing process.

Background

Intuition is a controversial concept and nurses believe that there are difficulties in how they should explain their nursing actions or decisions based on intuition. Much of the evidence from the body of research indicates that nurses value their intuition in a variety of clinical settings. More information on how nurses integrate intuition as a core element in daily clinical work would contribute to an improved understanding on how they go about this. Intuition deserves a place in evidence-based activities, where intuition is an important component associated with the nursing process.

Design

An integrative review strengthened with a mixed-studies review.

Methods

Literature searches were conducted in the databases CINAHL, PubMed and PsycINFO, and literature published 1985–2016 were included. The findings in the studies were analysed with content analysis, and the synthesis process entailed a reasoning between the authors.

Results

After a quality assessment, 16 studies were included. The analysis and synthesis resulted in three categories. The characteristics of intuition in the nurses daily clinical activities include application, assertiveness and experiences; in the relationships with patients’ intuition include unique connections, mental and bodily responses, and personal qualities; and in the nursing process include support and guidance, component and clues in decision-making, and validating decisions.

Conclusion

Intuition is more than simply a “gut feeling,” and it is a process based on knowledge and care experience and has a place beside research-based evidence. Nurses integrate both analysis and synthesis of intuition alongside objective data when making decisions. They should rely on their intuition and use this knowledge in clinical practice as a support in decision-making, which increases the quality and safety of patient care.

Relevance to clinical practice

We find that intuition plays a key role in more or less all of the steps in the nursing process as a base for decision-making that supports safe patient care, and is a validated component of nursing clinical care expertise.


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