Acute care settings are characterised by patients with complex health problems who are more likely to be or become seriously ill during their hospital stay. Although warning signs often precede serious adverse events there is consistent evidence that ‘at risk’ patients are not always identified or managed appropriately. ‘Failure to rescue’, with rescue being the ability to recognise deteriorating patients and to intervene appropriately, is related to poor clinical reasoning skills. These factors provided the impetus for the development of an educational model that has the potential to enhance nursing students’ clinical reasoning skills and consequently their ability to manage ‘at risk’ patients. Clinical reasoning is the process by which nurses collect cues, process the information, come to an understanding of a patient problem or situation, plan and implement interventions, evaluate outcomes, and reflect on and learn from the process. Effective clinical reasoning depends upon the nurse’s ability to collect the right cues and to take the right action for the right patient at the right time and for the right reason. This paper provides an overview of a clinical reasoning model and the literature underpinning the ‘five rights’ of clinical reasoning.
Nurse Education Today Vol. 30, Issue 6, p. 515-520