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In this paper, we analyse how critical thinking and intuitive practice are related to expertise in nursing We examine how intuitive practice, when performed automatically without care, vigilance, and criticism, can result in prejudice and patterns of practice which are misinformed We will show that the student nurse develops intuitive, skilful performance in nursing by reasoning about nursing knowledge and applying reflective, critical thought m practice situations, thereby gaming increasing expertise in reasoning as a reliable professional ensuring quality client care The elements of thought necessary for sound reasoning in clinical practice will be explored Finally, we suggest educational strategies and tactics which promote the development of the intellectual capacities of student nurses as independent critical thinkers