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Using Personal Judgement in Nursing and Healthcare

Using Personal Judgement in Nursing and Healthcare

  • David Seedhouse - Aston University, UK
  • Vanessa Peutherer - Learning and Development Consultant, Values Exchange, Independent Health and Social Care Ethics Scenario Writer and Researcher

October 2020 | 288 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
What is personal judgement? How can it help me interpret and follow official guidelines? How can I use it successfully in my daily practice?

Rules and codes for healthcare professionals continue to proliferate yet are unable to offer practical advice in specific circumstances. To help balance official rules with the variable, unique human element, David Seedhouse and Vanessa Peutherer explain what personal judgement is and how it can be applied routinely and effectively in everyday decision-making in healthcare. Through the use of over 40 interactive scenarios drawn from real-life practice, the authors encourage readers to use a range of techniques to boost their personal judgement, introducing different models and approaches to decision-making and exploring their strengths as well as their limitations. The authors then talk through their own suggestions for solving commonplace but challenging healthcare problems.

Timely, original and accessible, this book provides nurses and healthcare professionals with the tools needed to navigate the reality of everyday practice, while working with the many protocols they must consider and apply in both education and practice.

Chapter 1: Introducing Personal Judgement
Chapter 2: Classic Approaches to Nursing and Healthcare Decision-Making
Chapter 3: Myths and Facts About Healthcare Decision-Making
Chapter 4: PSP: Personally Involved Decision-Making
Chapter 5: Practice Scenario: An Exemplar
Chapter 6: Practice Scenarios: Staff and Professional Issues
Chapter 7: Practice Scenarios: Patient and Family Issues
Chapter 8: Using Imagination to Improve Personal Judgement

This book is a must read for nurses in all fields, whether student or registered. Any nurse who has questioned their own judgment or that of others, pondered over the whys and wherefores of decisions made, situations unfolded and what ifs, will find it infinitely helpful. The combination of David’s philosophy and Vanessa’s clinical expertise shine lights on the messiness of clinical practice and misfits of rules and regulations designed to guide nurses through their daily work. The book acknowledges the confusion that inexperience throws up and gives reassurance as to how to overcome it. It positively encourages readers to think critically, to question, to value their own personal judgement and it very much supports reflective practice in developing knowledge and understanding. It is a very useful classroom resource as well as supporting individual learning.

Jane James - Swansea University

This book challenges the received wisdom of normative and inductive ethics and requires the reader to engage in ethical thinking utilising a wholly new paradigm which includes asking questions of oneself. I commend this book to any practitioner looking to understand ethical practice within modern healthcare.

Peter Ellis
Independent Nursing Educational Consultant and Writer

This book makes a valuable, innovative and practical contribution to the literature on decision-making and ethics in care. The book builds on philosopher David Seedhouse’s substantial body of work in philosophy as applied to health and care. It is unusual in bringing together the experience of a philosopher and an expert nurse.  The book focuses on ‘personal judgement’, underpinned by fast and slow thinking, and draws attention to the complex and multi-faceted nature of decision-making in care contexts. It provides an abundance of scenarios, frameworks and resources that will be helpful to students of health and social care. The book may also assist teachers as they help students negotiate challenging scenarios and respond to uncertainty and disagreements in care. Unusually, the book makes explicit different – and sometimes conflicting – reflections on particular decisions. This role modelling of different perspectives is likely to stimulate critical reflection and discussion regarding care scenarios. This book will complement the existing literature relating to decision-making and ethics in care.

Ann Gallagher - Professor of Ethics and Care, International Care Ethics Observatory, University of Surrey (Author of ‘Slow Ethics and the Art of Care’)

A timely, well written book on decision making which I thoroughly recommend. A corrective to ‘check box’ culture and normative rule following.

Benny Goodman
Author, Independent Researcher and Scholar

David and Vanessa’s reflection are worthwhile and enable the reader to understand potential perspectives which may differ to their own and therefore further opportunity to broaden considerations.

Claire Peers - Lecturer of Adult Nursing, University of Plymouth

I believe it is a timely book which serves as a useful resource for all health professionals in how we might cope with conflicts and issues that will inevitably arise in their future practice. This book and the well-considered scenarios cover a range of pertinent topics, the reflections by both are very thought provoking. They provide some very humane responses to different situations. David and Vanessa's reflections complement each other well and are really useful in offering different perspectives on the same scenarios. This sets the book apart as too often we have commentary from one person whose word then becomes unilateral. This does not reflect reality where people have their own unique voices. We live in an ambiguous world and we must equip students to cope in this environment. This book exposes us to this. I will be using this in my teaching of radiography students. 

John McInerney - Lecturer of Medical Imaging and Radiation Sciences, Monash University, Australia

If computers could make all the decisions, we would not need human beings. A significant challenge in healthcare education is enabling students to find a balance between following the rules and algorithms of healthcare and creating a truly respectful and collaborative relationship with patients. What the authors do very well is re-frame this balancing act to show the importance of personal judgement, how this is influenced for better or worse by our inherent psychology, and most importantly how a conscious awareness of the processes can make healthcare practitioners more reflective and more effective decision-makers.

Mark Brennan - Deputy Head of Pharmacy & Reader in Healthcare Ethics and Law, Aston University

Another excellent text from SAGE! With a wealth of scenarios which will encourage discussion and build confidence in students' own decision making skills. By including critical thinking, decision making, reflective practice and ethics it will be a valuable resource for student nurses and lecturers.

Wendy Wright - University of the West of Scotland

Essential reading for nurses. A powerful case is presented for a more holistic, human-centred approach to healthcare - one which would benefit patients most of all, but also the nursing profession itself which it empowers as a true frontline decision maker. That its knowledge and experience have been undermined by a growing tide of rules and protocols should concern everyone, not the least the patients whom it serves.

David J Ball - Professor of Risk Management, Middlesex University

Interesting book useful for undergraduate nursing courses

Mrs Su Everett
Nursing and Midwifery, Middlesex University
December 16, 2021