Critical decision method: a technique for eliciting concrete assessment indicators from the intuition of NICU nurses

ANS Adv Nurs Sci. 1993 Sep;16(1):42-51. doi: 10.1097/00012272-199309000-00006.


Two studies supporting the use of the Critical Decision method (CDM) in eliciting knowledge from expert neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) nurses are presented. The first examines the utility of CDM in the nursing profession. In this study, significantly more information was elicited in CDM interviews than in non-CDM interviews. In the second study, cues, indicators, and exemplars were extracted from CDM incident accounts to form a guide to early sepsis assessment in the NICU that contains information not available in the current literature. All evaluators rated the guide as useful. Implications for future research, including generalizability to other areas of nursing, are discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Cognition*
  • Decision Making*
  • Hospital Bed Capacity, 500 and over
  • Hospitals, Urban
  • Humans
  • Infant, Low Birth Weight
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Intensive Care Units, Neonatal*
  • Interviews as Topic / methods
  • Methods
  • Nursing Assessment*
  • Nursing Staff, Hospital / psychology*
  • Ohio
  • Workforce