Intuition is defined as the ability to figure something out immediately without having to reason your way through it. As a consumer, you have probably found yourself knowing immediately whether something was a good purchase or whether it would fail in its promises. As a patient, you may have recognized when something was wrong with you physically. Perhaps you even sought care for this concern. As a health care provider, you still have this innate ability to use your intuitive processes to provide the best care for your patient.


Clinical intuition should not be the foundation for all health care nor should it be the sole thing you rely on as you diagnose or care for your patients. However, it can become a part of your diagnostic criteria or can be the impetus for new testing.


One of the biggest benefits of using clinical intuition is its clear ability to speed up health care. Most clinicians depend on a lengthy assessment and diagnostic pattern for caring for each patient. Many times, this pattern can take quite a long time, and in the case of critically ill patients, it can literally take too much time. Patients presenting emergently do not have the time to wait for diagnostic criteria to show up on a computer screen. Therefore, intuitive health care is best suited for use on emergency and critical care floors.


While some providers insist that intuition should not be used in clinical settings, these people often do not realize that intuition does not simply refer to diagnosing a patient with the first label that comes to mind. Instead, it is recognizing symptom patterns and listening to gut feelings that point to further testing.


Intuition in health care has not been extensively studied although a few smaller studies have shown positive outcomes. For example, a 2001 study concluded that nurses using intuition in the health care setting are not using a mystical power but are instead using a special analytical process that was unique to them.


Despite the limited studies, experience in the health care profession will quickly show you just how important intuition is. It can direct your daily care, tell you when a patient faces an emergency situation and prod you to advocate for quick care or specific testing.


One of the best ways to improve your intuition and your ability to make fast health care decisions is to improve your knowledge base. By storing plenty of knowledge in your brain, you will be able to think critically and quickly for your patients’ good. If you are ready to step beyond the basics of your profession, consider a certification that is directed specifically at your daily work, such as a Certified Emergency Nursing Certification or an Advanced 12-Lead EKG Certification. These classes give you new information and let you put your knowledge to work in simulated scenarios. Check into all of the classes that Project Heartbeat offers for health care providers today to see what could be right for you.