Main Article Content
Reform in the South African healthcare and educational system were characterized by the ideals that the country needs to produce independent, critical thinkers. Nurses need to cope with diversity in a more creative way, defining their role in a complex, uncertain, rapidly changing health care environment. Quality clinical judgement is therefore imperative as an identified characteristic of newly qualified professional nurses. The objective of this study was to explore and describe clinical judgement through various data sources and review of literature to clarify the meaning and promote a common understanding through formulating the characteristics and developing a connotative (theoretical) definition of the concept. An explorative, descriptive qualitative design was used to discover the complexity and meaning of the phenomenon. Multiple data sources and search strategies were used, for the time frame 1982-2013. A concept analysis was used to arrive at a theoretical definition of the concept of ‘clinical judgement’ as a complex cognitive skill to evaluate patient needs, adaption of current treatment protocols as well as new treatment strategies, prevention of adverse side effects through being proactive rather than reactive within the clinical nursing environment. The findings emphasized clinical judgement as skill within the clinical nursing environment, thereby improving autonomous and accountable nursing care. These findings will assist nurse leaders and clinical nurse educators in developing a teaching-learning strategy to promote clinical judgement in undergraduate nursing students, thereby contributing to the quality of nursing care.