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Health professionals' decision-making in wound management: a grounded theory

By Brigid Gillespie, Wendy Chaboyer, Winsome St John, Nicola Morley and Paul Nieuwenhoven


AIM: To develop a conceptual understanding of the decision-making processes used by healthcare professionals in wound care practice. BACKGROUND: With the global move towards using an evidence-base in standardizing wound care practices and the need to reduce hospital wound care costs, it is important to understand health professionals' decision-making in this important yet under-researched area. DESIGN: A grounded theory approach was used to explore clinical decision-making of healthcare professionals in wound care practice. METHODS: Interviews were conducted with 20 multi-disciplinary participants from nursing, surgery, infection control and wound care who worked at a metropolitan hospital in Australia. Data were collected during 2012-2013. Constant comparative analysis underpinned by Strauss and Corbin's framework was used to identify clinical decision-making processes. FINDINGS: The core category was 'balancing practice-based knowledge with evidence-based knowledge'. Participants' clinical practice and actions embedded the following processes: 'utilizing the best available information', 'using a consistent approach in wound assessment' and 'using a multidisciplinary approach'. The substantive theory explains how practice and evidence knowledge was balanced and the variation in use of intuitive practice-based knowledge versus evidence-based knowledge. Participants considered patients' needs and preferences, costs, outcomes, technologies, others' expertise and established practices. Participants' decision-making tended to be more heavily weighted towards intuitive practice-based processes. CONCLUSION: These findings offer a better understanding of the processes used by health professionals' in their decision-making in wound care. Such an understanding may inform the development of evidence-based interventions that lead to better patient outcomes.Griffith Health, School of Nursing and MidwiferyFull Tex

Topics: Clinical Nursing: Secondary (Acute Care)
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing
Year: 2014
DOI identifier: 10.1111/jan.12598
OAI identifier:

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