Common Sense & Nursing

  1. Overheard this morning:

    Nurse #1: I dunno about the new girl, I don't think she can handle it.

    Nurse #2: Why?

    Nurse #1: She has to be told everything. She has no no....no....common sense. I mean, you'd think she'd use a little common sense!

    What do you think?

    Is "common sense" something that good nurses have intuitively before they have experience, or is "common sense" nursing something that is built by experience?
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  2. Poll: Common Sense in Nursing: Is it intuitive or experiential--or something else?

    • Completely intuitive

      17.07% 14
    • Completely experience

      8.54% 7
    • I have a good case for a "Both" answer

      71.95% 59
    • Other. Tell us what you think and why.

      2.44% 2
    82 Votes
  3. 13 Comments

  4. by   Spidey's mom
    Quote from Angie O'Plasty, RN
    Overheard this morning:

    Nurse #1: I dunno about the new girl, I don't think she can handle it.

    Nurse #2: Why?

    Nurse #1: She has to be told everything. She has no no....no....common sense. I mean, you'd think she'd use a little common sense!

    What do you think?

    Is "common sense" something that good nurses have intuitively before they have experience, or is "common sense" nursing something that is built by experience?
    There are so many technical skills involved in nursing that I think "common sense" comes from experience, mostly.

    When I first started here at my hospital, I had the nurse who was proctoring me ask me to go get a saline lock. I went looking for a saline lock and couldn't find one - she huffed and puffed and got it herself. It was completely different than the lock I had used in clinical - even a different color and style.

    And I had never been told where we kept our saline locks.

    steph
  5. by   Marie_LPN, RN
    I can't agree that common sense nursing is built by experience for all. One i work with who's been a nurse for 30 years, and STILL has to be told some of the most basic stuff. Not to mention her pt/ safety priorities are always out of whack.
    Last edit by Marie_LPN, RN on Dec 31, '05
  6. by   llg
    Great question! I always regretted that I didn't do my doctoral dissertation on "common sense" in nursing. I would have chosen that topic, but didn't think of it until too late in my course of study.

    I believe that common sense is largely built from experience. However, some people have more ability to learn from experience than other people. It's a variation of "IQ." Some people have a lot of ability to learn from experience and combine that learning with their "book learning" to become very skilled experts. Other people don't have as much natural ability to learn and have to work much harder to achieve the same level of performance. ... and of course, some people never achieve a high level of performance.

    llg
  7. by   Spidey's mom
    Quote from llg
    Great question! I always regretted that I didn't do my doctoral dissertation on "common sense" in nursing. I would have chosen that topic, but didn't think of it until too late in my course of study.

    I believe that common sense is largely built from experience. However, some people have more ability to learn from experience than other people. It's a variation of "IQ." Some people have a lot of ability to learn from experience and combine that learning with their "book learning" to become very skilled experts. Other people don't have as much natural ability to learn and have to work much harder to achieve the same level of performance. ... and of course, some people never achieve a high level of performance.

    llg
    And then some people are just lazy.

    I agree with your "thesis".

    steph
  8. by   traumaRUs
    I equate common sense with critical thinking skills. Common sense is a combination of intuition and experience. Its the ability to look at a patient and "know" they are going to go down the tubes quickly. Its being able to prioritize care consistently with each patient. Its what makes a good nurse great.
  9. by   CardioTrans
    Quote from traumaRUs
    I equate common sense with critical thinking skills. Common sense is a combination of intuition and experience. Its the ability to look at a patient and "know" they are going to go down the tubes quickly. Its being able to prioritize care consistently with each patient. Its what makes a good nurse great.

    :yeahthat:
  10. by   Boots67
    "Common Sense" is something that anyone especially good nurses have intuitively before they have experience and countinuously improve.


    Is "common sense" something that good nurses have intuitively before they have experience, or is "common sense" nursing something that is built by experience?[/quote]
  11. by   traumaRUs
    I think to a certain degree, common sense is something you acquire via life experience and then you factor in your formal education to give you the basic critical thinking skills. The third factor of experience comes last but also plays into this formula.
  12. by   thatoneguy
    well i have a little different view on this. common sense is just an inherent trait, steaming from ones intuitiveness. something you just have or not, it can not be learned. before it aplies in nurseing or any job or even life, first you must have the basic idea of how things work, this is where experience comes in. but just because you have experience does not mean you gain common sense. if you do have common sense and no experience everyone thinks your soo smart, because you catch on quick and fiqure things out on your own with just a little knowledge. some equate smart to knowledge, i think its more common sense that makes you smart, gainning the knowledge just adds to that smartness. to me that would be how i differate smart people to those who possess lots of knowledge, that being a smart person also possess common sense.
  13. by   Jerico
    I think common sense is a type of analytical skill.

    I don't think common sense can be taught, I think it is inate.

    You can have a genius in mathematics who has not a lick of common sense.

    A brain genius person can be dumber than a rock when it comes to common sense.

    That is why when I see someone with straight As I wonder.

    Not to say someone with straight As can't have a great deal of common sense, but it isn't often I've seen people with BOTH.
  14. by   MadRedneckRN
    I think you either have common sense or you don't. While it's true, some can come from experience, I believe it is going to be very difficult to feel comfortable with your skills without a certain amount of common sense ir intuition. There are some very good "technical nurses" out there. Great with facts and book stuff, but I'd rather have (and be) the nurse who has a "gut feeling" about a situation and have the confidence that I'm usually right. (or close)
    That being said, unless you posess the knowlege and the skills, the "gut feeling" does you no good. If you have decent common sense to begin with, combine it with study time and practice, that is what makes a "good Nurse" a great nurse.
  15. by   jmgrn65
    Quote from Marie_LPN
    I can't agree that common sense nursing is built by experience for all. One i work with who's been a nurse for 30 years, and STILL has to be told some of the most basic stuff. Not to mention her pt/ safety priorities are always out of whack.
    Do we work at the same place:uhoh21: I work with someone just like that, I amazed all the time how she can be a nurse. She has worked on the same floor for at least 20 years and knows less than a new grad.

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