Responding to uncertainty in nursing practice

C Thompson, D Dowding

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Uncertainty is a fact of life for practising clinicians and cannot be avoided. This paper outlines the model of uncertainty presented by Katz (1988, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK. pp. 544-565) and examines the descriptive and normative power of three broad theoretical and strategic approaches to dealing with uncertainty: rationality, bounded rationality and intuition. It concludes that nursing research and development (R&D) must acknowledge uncertainty more fully in its R&D agenda and that good-quality evaluation studies which directly compare intuitive with rational-analytical approaches for given clinical problems should be a dominant feature of future R&D.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)609-615
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Nursing Studies
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2001


  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Clinical Competence
  • Decision Making
  • Decision Support Techniques
  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Humans
  • Internal-External Control
  • Intuition
  • Judgment
  • Knowledge
  • Logic
  • Nursing Assessment
  • Nursing Care
  • Nursing Research
  • Nursing Theory
  • Probability
  • Journal Article
  • Review


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