The quality of critical care nurses’ decision making about patients’ hemodynamic status in the immediate period after cardiac surgery is important for the patients’ well-being and, at times, survival. The way nurses respond to hemodynamic cues varies according to the nurses’ skills, experiences, and knowledge. Variability in decisions is also associated with the inherent complexity of hemodynamic monitoring. Previous methodological approaches to the study of hemodynamic assessment and treatment decisions have ignored the important interplay between nurses, the task, and the environment in which these decisions are made. The advantages of naturalistic decision making as a framework for studying the manner in which nurses make decisions are presented.

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