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Intuition is referred as the ability of understanding the situation and acting suitably according to the situation while making use of the systematic and conscious reasoning. There is a difference between intuition and knowledge. Intuition basically is the ability of perceiving the need of circumstances and is said to be gained through long practical experiences. Having a dominating involvement of emotions, an intuitive skill can only be achieved through practice. An intuitive nurse does not need to undergo analytical thinking before taking any action and this is the true level of expertise in a nurse.
Patricia Benner, a nursing theorist has worked extensively in elaborating the feature of intuition in the nursing practices. Benner is a staunch advocate of the belief that intuition plays a pivotal role in attainment of qualifications necessary to become an expert nurse. Benner’s theory reveals the gradual process, a nurse undergoes from an initial instruction-based practice to becoming a nurse having professional expertise. The steps involved in this transition are: Novice, a beginner with no practical background; carries out his work while being dependent upon the bookish instructions. After a short experience, a novice is then turned in to an advanced beginner i.e. a nurse performing a satisfactory practice in acceptable manner. Further, after acquiring an experience of 2 to 3 years, the nurse becomes competent enough to efficiently manage the standard procedures. After more practice the nurse becomes proficient i.e. working with full potential and efficiency.
Finally the proficient nurse then turns into an expert nurse. The expert nurse owing to her experience has intuitive command over the situation and she needs not to follow the rules, guidelines and analytical procedures in her practice. The expert nurse effectively employs her interpersonal skills to ease the patient, instead of only limiting her practices for medical procedures and checkups only. Showing a gesture of care to the patient and ability to quickly monitor and transform the environment in the favor of patient’s health are the qualities of an expert nurse.
Intuition involves the combination of feelings, knowledge and experience. For instance, intuition can be incorporated in practice while suggesting a suitable level of dosage for a child and a grown-up adult. Also based upon experience, intuition can help in suggesting whether a particular medicine will suit a patient with digestive problems. But the concept of intuition only works well when the nurse has acquired sufficient experience to be considered as an expert.
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