Sharpening My Decision Making Skills: Reflecting on My Experience at the GUM Clinic Essay

Sharpening My Decision Making Skills: Reflecting on My Experience at the GUM ClinicThe present paper is a reflection of my experience at the GUM Clinic, which I felt directly helped me improve my decision making skills. I felt very enthusiastic about the session because I knew that it would help me practice my theoretical knowledge as a nurse.The metamorphosis of nursing as a distinct professions with a unique and peculiar knowledge base and approach towards healthcare has been reinforced in the past decade; in effect, it has enhanced the importance of clinical decision making (Balla, 1990).  Under the realm of clinical thinking are two types of knowledge, namely, theoretical knowledge and applied knowledge, as associated with the clinical setting. Since clinical decision making is a very difficult skill to acquire, I appreciated that I had an opportunity to enhance this further through my experience at the GUM Clinic.

Teaching the processes underlying clinical decision making has always proved difficult of not problematic. There have been numerous theoretical frameworks that have been designed to make the procedure more straightforward; however, these challenges seem to persist. I realise that nurses like myself should leverage on every opportunity to be mentored and to be exposed to a variety of clinical settings to be able to equip themselves with such a skill.Nurses determine and resolve client issues in the nursing domain as well as being aware of, identifying and implementing treatment (under medical supervision) of client problems in the biomedical domain. Carnevali (1984) emphasises the idea that by convention and training, nurses have been biased to direct problem solving chiefly and apparently towards the biomedical domain. This may have been the practice, but with the transition to holistic care and the dynamic mindset in health care, nurses make apt and gainful choices about when to direct their decision making and judgment to daily living as associated to health. These daily living requisites are vital to the nursing practice domain, which considers other facets of the nursing role: 1) the helping role, 2) the teaching-coaching function, 3) the diagnostic and patient-monitoring function, 4) effective management of rapidly changing situations, 5) administering and monitoring therapeutic interventions and regimes, 6) monitoring and ensuring the quality of health care practices, and 6) organisational and work-role competencies (Benner, 1984).

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I felt that through my experience in the GUM Clinic, I have been given the chance to help others directly through my healthcare services. I have also been able to render a teaching-coaching function in trying to mentor nurses who are more junior than myself, and extend such a role to patients in teaching them how to take care of themselves. The diagnostic and patient monitoring function has also been practiced in this setting. What I have truly appreciated is the chance for me to be practice being more effective  at rapidly changing situations. This is where improved clinical decision making comes in – the more knowledge and clinical exposure that I acquire, the faster I am able to respond to complex situations. Nurses do not exclusively work in institutional settings.

Those nurses working as autonomous practitioners, in industrial clinics, home care or midwifery make decisions on referral for medical diagnosis and treatment.They utilise clinical judgment when suggesting sustained self care, autonomous nursing action or maintenance of the client under nursing management (Cox, 1993). Thus, we must have the flexibility and agility of adjusting to the demands of these different clinical settings. Overall, I think that the experience at the GUM clinic has helped me come a step closer to developing my competencies as a nurse, and indirectly, the quality of the healthcare services that I provide.ReferencesBalla, J. (1990). Insights into some aspects of clinical education – 1 Clinical practice.

Postgraduate Medical Journal, 66, 212-217.Benner, P. (1984). From Novice to Expert. California, Addison-Wesley.Carnevali, D. (1984). Diagnostic reasoning in nursing.

Philadelphia: J B Lippencott Company.Cox, K. (1993). Learning Clinical Reasoning. Sydney: University of New South Wales. 


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