Decision Making in Emergency Care
Dimensions of Critical Care Nursing
General medicine commonly adopts a strategy based on the analytic approach utilizing the hypothetico-deductive method. Medical emergency care and education have been following similarly the same approach. However, the unique milieu and task complexity in emergency care settings pose a challenge to the analytic approach, particularly when confronted with a critically ill patient who requires immediate action. Despite having discussions in the literature addressing the unique characteristics of
... haracteristics of medical emergency care settings, there has been hardly any alternative structured mental model proposed to overcome those challenges. Methods: This paper attempts to address a conceptual mental model for emergency care that combines both analytic as well as non-analytic methods in decision making. Results: The proposed model is organized in an alphabetical mnemonic, A-H. The proposed model includes eight steps for approaching emergency cases, viz., awareness, basic supportive measures, control of potential threats, diagnostics, emergency care, follow-up, groups of particular interest, and highlights. These steps might be utilized to organize and prioritize the management of emergency patients. Discussion: Metacognition is very important to develop practicable mental models in practice. The proposed model is flexible and takes into consideration the dynamicity of emergency cases. It also combines both analytic and non-analytic skills in medical education and practice. Conclusion: Combining various clinical reasoning provides better opportunity, particularly for trainees and novices, to develop their experience and learn new skills. This mental model could be also of help for seasoned practitioners in their teaching, audits, and review of emergency cases.