Toward a Theory of Intuitive Decision-Making in Nursing

Nurs Sci Q. 2015 Jul;28(3):223-8. doi: 10.1177/0894318415585618.


The author in this article presents a theory of decision-making in nursing, specifically a middle-range theory of intuitive decision-making in nursing created through the synthesis of Patricia Benner's model of skill acquisition in nursing and Damasio's somatic marker hypothesis. The author proposes that Damasio's somatic state is equivalent to what Benner has identified as intuition. When a nurse is faced with a decision, intuition, if developed, is a somatic state that creates a measurable physiological biasing signal (skin conductive response) that helps in making an advantageous decision. Research, educational, clinical and theoretical implications are discussed.

Keywords: continuing nursing education; decision-making; intuition; nurse education; nursing theory.

MeSH terms

  • Decision Making*
  • Humans
  • Memory
  • Models, Nursing*
  • Nursing Process*
  • Skin Physiological Phenomena