Effective Clinical Reasoning Essay

2008 Words Jul 26th, 2011 9 Pages
POSITIVE PATIENT OUTCOMES: A CHALLENGE FOR THE CONTEMPORARY NURSING PROFESSIONAL.
Introduction:
Despite technological and medical advances today, chronic disease and resultant co-morbidities are prevalent in the Australian Healthcare System. As a result, patients, especially in the acute care setting, have more complex care needs. The management and care of patients with these complex care needs present a challenge for the contemporary nursing professional. Positive patient outcomes will be dependent on a number of factors, such as the assessment of the patient’s condition, the identification of potential risks for the patient, the planning of appropriate care and the management of the subsequent interventions that may be required.
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Clinical reasoning is “the process of applying knowledge and expertise to a clinical situation to develop a solution” (Carr, 2004 cited in Banning, 2008, p.177). Poor clinical reasoning skills can lead to a “failure to recue” (Aitken et al., 2003) the deteriorating patient. Additionally, studies by Hoffman et al. have compared the way in which the expert nurse and the novice nurse accurately collect cues from which they base their decisions. Effective clinical reasoning is therefore linked to “the ability to collect the right cues and take the right action for the right patient at the right time and for the right reason” (Levett-Jones et al., 2010). The ability to apply these “five rights of clinical reasoning” (Levett-Jones et al., 2010) will be discussed in more detail in Nursing Actions and Interventions: A Reflection. The development of the nurse’s ability to clinically reason and take appropriate and timely action can, in time, become an instinctive and automatic process. Reflective practice by the nursing professional will highlight the areas in which further improvement is needed. Essentially, it is the responsibility of the individual nurse to identify the need to develop this ability, and the skill to effectively communicate the patient’s condition to the other members of the healthcare team to produce positive patient outcomes.
Communication:
Fundamentally, communication is the basis of all human