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The role of intuition in nurse decision making

Hugh Gorick Benjamin Clarke Joyce Ikenna-Ezekiel First published: Last updated:

Defining intuition in nursing

Intuition is a tool that nurses use in their clinical practice. A better understanding of intuition and the ways in which it can be effectively applied in healthcare ensures high-quality and safe patient care. Intuition is referred to as a ‘gut feeling’, or a ‘knowing without reason’ (Hassani et al, 2016) that nurses use to supplement decision-making processes. Melin-Johansson et al (2017) defined intuition as a rapid evaluation and synthesis of knowledge and experience.

This article explores the definition of intuition in healthcare, how and when it is used in nursing, as well as the advantages and pitfalls of its use.

The role of intuition in nursing

Intuition is used alongside clinical tools and frameworks to help nurses make clinical decisions. Tanner (2006) noted that intuition plays an important role in recognising patterns in practice and similarities between scenarios in nurses’ clinical judgement.

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Hugh Gorick

Benjamin Clarke

Joyce Ikenna-Ezekiel

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