The application of decision making concepts by nurse practitioners in general practice
This paper is concerned with the conceptual frameworks which could be applied to nurse practitioners in general practice in reaching decisions during patient consultations. Four strategies of decision making are explained within a practice context: hypothetico-deductive method, decision analysis, pattern recognition and intuition. The study uses retrospective verbalization and observation of 20 nurse practitioners working alongside general practitioners to explore decision making issues. The results of the study show that important factors relating to decision making include: the ability to recognize patterns in clinical situations to fit with patterns previously seen; an appreciation of the consequences of inappropriate action; and the ability to concentrate simultaneously on complex and sometimes masked patient cues as well as multiple treatment options.