Decision Making

Decision making
          The Emergency Nurse Practitioner

                                            Word Count: 2700

                              Susan Fairbairn
                BSc Autonomous Healthcare Practice
                  Applied Practice: Decision making

                          Government policy, in recent years, has led to changing roles for nurses in the National Health Service.   Many nurses now work autonomously within the Scope of Professional Practice (NMC 2002). These new roles come with a greater responsibility to be able to account for both actions and decisions. To this end, increasing importance is given to continuing education and evidence-based practice. Thompson and Dowding (2002 p5) suggest that the link between knowledge and decision making has been an important factor as nurses endeavour to establish their professional status.

The subject of decision making has been studied for over fifty years by many different people, and many different theories have been developed. Carroll and Johnson (1990) cited in Bicknell (2003 p312) define decision making as

      “a process by which a person, group or organisation identifies a choice
      or judgement to be made, gathers and evaluates information about
      alternatives and selects from among alternatives”.

This assignment intends to explore the topic of clinical judgement and decision making with particular reference to decision making in the expanding role of nurse practitioners.

Decision making is often referred to as clinical judgement. A distinction was made between the two by Dowie (1993 p8), cited in Thompson and Dowding ( 2002 p7). He described judgements as the evaluation of alternatives and decisions as selecting from among these alternatives. In nursing the two go hand in hand and are therefore often referred to as the same thing.

Crumbie (2002...