Intuition in nursing practice: sharing graduate students' exemplars with undergraduate students

School of Nursing, University of Connecticut, Storrs 06269-2059, USA.
Journal of Nursing Education (Impact Factor: 0.91). 05/1998; 37(4):169-72.
Source: PubMed


Failure to acknowledge ways of knowing in nursing education curricula other than linear reasoning hinders the development of the full extent of mental abilities brought to learning situations by nursing students. Nurse educators are challenged to develop creative methods to facilitate nursing students' intuitive thinking. In this article, a teaching strategy is described in which graduate students' exemplars of intuition in clinical practice are shared with undergraduate nursing students. Implications of using this teaching approach to demystify the intuitive process and address its legitimacy are discussed.

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    ABSTRACT: Intuition has been cited as an integral part of nursing clinical expertise. Responding to the recent scholarly debate over the status of expert nursing intuition as part of the art or science of nursing, this article proposes an alternative view that may provide an informational basis for what has been described phenomenologically as intuition. Two reasons for the dispute over the status of nursing intuition as 'art' or 'science' are proposed: The first is methodological. The second relates to intuition's close link with perception and underlying assumptions about perception. By examining intuition through an ecological psychology framework, the problem takes on a different character, one that is no longer focused solely on the expert's cognitive (or perceptual) processes, but also on the information provided by the patient and the context of care. This perspective has several implications for nursing. By investigating information sources (i.e. higher order variables or constraints) in the nurse-patient encounter, the problem of intuition may be clarified, and perhaps simplified. We may find that what nurse researchers have called 'intuition' is what Gibson (1966, 1986) termed 'direct perception.' Intuition as direct perception is information-based and lawful. Finally, although some aspects of intuition may be hard-wired through evolution, intuition as direct perception can be developed through education and extensive, deliberate practice with appropriate exemplars. Characterized as direct perception, intuition is an observable, lawful phenomenon that is measurable, potentially teachable, and appropriately part of nursing science.
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