Clinical Reasoned Judgment and the Nursing Process


  • Loucine M. Huckabay, RN, PNP, PhD, FAAN, is Professor and Director, Department of Nursing, California State University, Long Beach, Long Beach, CA.

Author contact:, with a copy to the Editor:


Every nursing school student is taught the nursing process as a systematic framework for processing patient information to make clinical decisions. This article provides a model for integrating a conceptual model of critical thinking into the nursing process, with the goal of enabling nurses to think critically, reason accurately, and make appropriate clinical decisions about their patients. Eight elements of critical thinking provide the universal structure of thought processes: clarity, accuracy, precision, relevance, depth, breadth, and logic. The model provides nurses with a practical approach for making effective clinical decisions.