Clinical judgment is a word “out there” very often when we talk about NCLEX exam, especially with new changes anticipated in 2023 with NEXT GEN NCLEX. It is important for NCLEX candidates to understand that clinical judgement is not something “new” to NCLEX or YOU as a nurse. NCLEX already incorporated clinical judgment with the application and analysis questions. It is included in both RN an PN exams. I have found that there are lots of confusion among nursing students and NCLEX review course educators about the meaning of “clinical judgement”.

These are the common (wrong) information I get when asked about clinical judgment.
• Clinical judgment is critical thinking
• Clinical judgement is taking a priority decision for patient condition
• Clinical judgement is having practical nursing skills.
• You need experience in hospital to get clinical judgement
• Only nurses’ studies in American have clinical judgement to answer NCLEX questions.

First, none of these are true as independent aspects. So, if someone is telling you any of these, ask them to do some more research on the topic and come back.

Now let’s see the truth about clinical judgement. It has four major parts.
1. Clinical Judgment includes the skill of recognizing clues about a clinical situation: Which means, identify the signs and symptoms early enough. This is where critical thinking starts. And you apply the theory you have learned
2. Figuring out what is likely going to happen (good /bad/worse) – so you can plan what to do. You will need critical thinking skills here.
3. Take action (do something so you can prevent a bad outcome). This is decision making.
4. Evaluate the entire things so you get more idea to make it better for the patient.

As you can see, clinical judgment is not just one thing. It has critical thinking and decision-making skills and much more involved in it.

Does NCLEX RN exam ask about it? Yes. This is not something you learn from a text book. If you are planning to write the NCLEX exam, only an experienced nurse educator can teach you clinical judgment and how to use it to pass the exam.

If you are looking for one, you know how to reach us. Email contact@appleRN.com
All the best!

Anila