Clinical reasoning. Instructor resources
In the literature the terms clinical reasoning, clinical judgment, problem solving, decision making and critical thinking are often used interchangeably. In this learning package we use the term clinical reasoning to describe the process by which nurses (and other clinicians) collect cues, process the information, come to an understanding of a patient problem or situation, plan and implement interventions, evaluate outcomes, and reflect on and learn from the process (Hoffman, 2007; Kraischsk & Anthony, 2001; Laurie et al., 2001). The clinical reasoning process is dependent upon a critical thinking 'disposition' (Scheffer & Rubenfeld, 2000) and is influenced by a person's attitude, philosophical perspective and preconceptions (McCarthy, 2003). Clinical reasoning is not a linear process but can be conceptualised as a series or spiral of linked and ongoing clinical encounters.