Intuition: a critical review of the research and rhetoric


Lindy King, Department of Nursing Studies, King's College London, Cornwall House, Waterloo Road, London SE1 8WA, England.


This paper will explore the concept of intuition in nursing from an acute care and community nursing perspective. It will consider definitions of intuition and examine the research which can inform our understanding of this important component of decision making. In the current health service climate, which demands measurable research-based evidence, the involvement of intuition as an element of judgement is often denigrated. The result is that many nurses are being forced to be covert in their use of this crucial aspect of judgement and focus solely on the conscious elements of decision-making. However, research evidence would suggest that intuition occurs in response to knowledge, is a trigger for action and/or reflection and thus has a direct bearing on analytical processes in patient/client care. The authors therefore argue that the essential nature of intuition cannot be ignored in the practice, management, education and research of nursing.