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Photo of two gloved and masked medical professionals adjusting medical flow rates on a machine in a medical setting.
Figure 27.1 Making Decisions in Practice Nurses make decisions as often as every 30 seconds when providing patient care. The ability to make safe and effective decisions is learned through direct experience and the guidance of colleagues. The thinking underlying the decision-making process is clinical judgment. (credit: “U.S. Navy Doctors, Nurses and Corpsmen Treat COVID Patients in the ICU Aboard USNS Comfort” by “Shutter Runner”/flickr, Public Domain)

The steps of the nursing process provide direction for nurses when making patient care decisions. Each decision affects the patient’s health status because safe and effective decisions made by nurses enhance patient outcomes (Nibbelink & Brewer, 2018). Clinical judgment is an essential part of safe and effective decision making in nursing practice (Tanner, 2006). The process of clinical judgment is cognitive and is the integrated thinking performed by nurses when making patient care decisions (Lasater, 2007). This chapter focuses on how to use clinical judgment when providing nursing care for gynecologic and obstetric patients. The unfolding case study offers opportunities for practice of clinical judgment and NCLEX-style questions.

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