Nurse Educators' Perspectives and Experiences with Clinical Judgment


December 2023

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Sound clinical judgment (CJ) is an essential skill every nurse needs to care for individuals competently and safely. Over the last two decades, nursing education has struggled to sufficiently prepare and develop students’ CJ, despite various educational and curricular changes. This study utilized a Naturalistic Inquiry approach to explore prelicensure nurse educators’ perceptions and experiences with teaching and evaluating nursing students’ CJ to gain essential insight to educators’ perceptions of this education deficit. Eight prelicensure nurse educators participated in this study, recruited through the memberships of the National League for Nursing (NLN). Data saturation was evident after six participants. Four main categories emerged from the data: Making Sense of Clinical Judgment, Efforts to Foster Clinical Judgment in the Classroom and Clinical Setting, Perceived Challenges for Nurse Educators Related to Clinical Judgment, and The Next Generation National Council Licensure Examination (NGN) Impact. The findings indicate nursing education needs to agree on a definition and utilization of a CJ model to help teach. The findings also indicate creating an active learning environment, using simulation, and educators actively posing questions to students are strategies used to foster CJ in the clinical and classroom settings. The data from this study also reveals prelicensure nurse educators’ perceived challenges to teaching and evaluating students’ CJ and their perceptions on the new changes to licensure examination. The findings from this study support and add to the accelerating body of literature on nursing CJ and lay the groundwork for future research on fostering nursing students’ CJ