Clinical decision making is a relatively broad term often used to describe the central activity of the nurse Practitioner; but other terms are being used interchangeably with it. The aim of this brief article is to start the process of creating a simple definition and philosophical framework of clinical decision making in healthcare. When I use “clinical decision-making”, I am referring generally to the process by which an individual or group of individuals make a healthcare decision about treatment, diagnosis or other medical services. It is important to bear in mind that this broad term does not encompass the full range of activities that involve decision-making. However, for our purposes here, I will be content to limit our discussion to those activities that directly pertain to the clinical aspects of patient care.
One important distinction to make when considering clinical decision-making in nursing is that between clinical decision making and nursing decision-making. As a registered nurse, the primary focus of your daily tasks will be clinical; that is, you will work in the operating room, examining patients, diagnosing patients and addressing other issues as part of your work as a nurse. At the same time, you will need to make nursing decisions concerning the management of your patient’s condition, treatment and discharge. This will include decisions regarding the use of medications, hospital care, therapeutic care, etc.
The concept of clinical decision making in nursing is not limited to nurses alone. Practitioners in various areas of nursing such as physicians, therapists and others also have a substantial role in the management of patient care. While many people assume that these professionals work primarily in the doctor’s office or clinical setting, this is not the case. In fact, these individuals may work in clinics, hospitals, home health agencies and other primary care settings.
Clinical Decision Making Facts
Why is clinical decision making important? For the professional who cares for acute patients, making the right treatment recommendations can mean the difference between life and death. While this may be an extreme example, the consequences of inappropriate treatments can be far-reaching. A cancer patient who receives ineffective treatment may be diagnosed with a more serious disease or die of treatable complications. In addition, ineffective treatments often have dire consequences on the emotional and psychological well-being of patients.
Clinical decision making can be described as the process by which an individual makes a rational judgment about a particular medical issue. How do nurses do this? Through careful observation of the patient and through careful analysis of the medical record. Nursed practitioners need to have a thorough understanding of the documentation required by the regulatory bodies in order to ensure that they are providing the best patient care possible. Additionally, they must have a detailed understanding of the principles of evidence-based medicine.
Evidence-based practice is one of the hallmarks of good clinical practice. The use of supportive data is central to this practice. Nurses who are trained in this field can use statistical analysis and other statistical techniques to support their clinical decision making when it comes to evaluating the appropriateness of a treatment option. As a result of their education, nurses can make better informed decisions about treatment options and can accurately and objectively evaluate the appropriateness of a patient’s medical condition or prognosis.
Nurses can contribute to clinical decision making in many other ways as well. One way is through the creation and maintenance of a health-information-processing model. Health information-processing models are designed to make the best possible decisions about a patient’s care based on the information available to the practitioner. Information in a health information-processor is organized in a manner that allows the patient, the nursing staff, and the physician involved in the treatment plan to understand the information and determine the best course of action. However, a health information processor is only as good as the information it contains.
In The End
Forcing a health information processor to adhere to certain criteria is not only ineffective because of the large amount of information that must be processed and reviewed, but is also likely to complicate the process. This is because it is very difficult for people to apply information rules when faced with complex situations such as those that occur in clinical decision making and care. On the other hand, nurses and other clinical decision makers can use the results of their analyses to inform and guide them rather than force their opinions on patients. As a result, the entire clinical practice becomes more effective and efficient because the quality of the decision-making process is improved.