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Medical Decision Making in Emergency Care

Sanning Shea, Sheila RN, MSN, ANP, CEN; Sue Hoyt, K. PhD, RN, FNP-BC, CEN, FAEN, FAANP, FAAN

doi: 10.1097/TME.0000000000000038

The role of the nurse practitioner (NP) or physician assistant (PA) in the emergent or urgent care setting requires proficient assessment skills in addition to the constant integration of information that leads to a sound medical decision-making (MDM) process. In every patient encounter, the NP/PA must efficiently gather adequate data to formulate a “hypothesis” and rapidly consider many “possible or probable” diagnoses to reach the most likely conclusion regarding the patient's condition. This MDM process requires deliberate thought and a higher level of cognitive functioning to process and analyze data and draw conclusions.

St. Mary Medical Center, Long Beach, California.

Corresponding Author: Sheila Sanning Shea, RN, MSN, ANP, CEN, St. Mary Medical Center, 1050 Linden Ave, Long Beach, CA 90813 (

Disclosure: The author reports no conflicts of interest.

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