Clinical Decision Making of Experienced and Novice Nurses

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Decision making is an important daily nursing activity. Given contradictory past findings concerning the ease of use of cognitive schema for reaching decisions among experts and novices, we chose to examine consistency of information as a parameter that may clarify the process of decision making. Ninety-two experienced nurses and 65 nursing students rated their decisional difficulty and levels of certainty in reaching a diagnosis for two scenarios: one including consistent information and one providing information that was partly inconsistent with the given diagnosis. For the consistent information, students showed more difficulty and less certainty in the given diagnosis than the experienced nurses. The inconsistent scenario was perceived as more difficult by nurses in comparison to students. The cognitive processes responsible for these results are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)534-547
Number of pages14
JournalWestern Journal of Nursing Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1996


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