Aims and objectives: This study investigated nurse practitioners' clinical decision-making abilities and the factors that affect these abilities. Background: Nurse practitioners play an important role in clinical care decision-making; however, studies exploring the factors that affect their decision-making abilities are lacking. Design: A cross-sectional descriptive survey was employed. Methods: A purposive sample of 197 nurse practitioners was recruited from a medical centre in central Taiwan. Structured questionnaires consisting of the Knowledge Readiness Scale, the Critical Thinking Disposition Inventory and the Clinical Decision-Making Model Inventory were used to collect data. Results: The intuitive-analytical type was the most commonly used decision-making model, and the intuitive type was the least frequently used model. The decision-making model used was significantly related to the nurse practitioners' work unit. Significant differences were noted between the nurse practitioners' clinical decision-making models and their critical thinking dispositions (openness and empathy). The nurse practitioners' years of work experience, work unit, professional knowledge and critical thinking disposition (openness and empathy as well as holistic and reflective dispositions) predicted the nurse practitioners' analytical decision-making scores. Age, years of nurse practitioner work experience, work unit and critical thinking disposition (holistic and reflective) predicted the nurse practitioners' intuitive decision-making scores. Conclusions: This study contributes to the topic of clinical decision-making by describing various types of nurse practitioner decision-making. The factors associated with analytic and intuitive decision-making scores were identified. These findings might be beneficial when planning continuing education programmes to enhance the clinical decision-making abilities of nurse practitioners. Relevance to clinical practice: The study results showed that nurse practitioners demonstrated various clinical decision-making types across different work units. Consideration of nurse practitioners' knowledge readiness and their specific needs while planning on-duty education programmes is necessary.
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