Clinical reasoning is the ability of the nurse to THINK in ACTION and reason as a situation changes over time by capturing and UNDERSTANDING the significance of clinical trajectories.
Educating Nurses: A Call for Radical Transformation

Incorporating clinical reasoning in nursing education is much more than a needed pedagogy change, it can be a matter of life and death! When a nurse in practice fails to rescue a patient with a change in status such as sepsis, the consequence could be a preventable patient death. Therefore, there must be a sense of urgency to effectively situate this needed emphasis especially in the clinical setting where it can be easily “caught” when it is “taught” by faculty.

As a practicing nurse and nurse educator, I have created numerous handouts that situate clinical reasoning within clinical paperwork as well as clinical handouts to promote student learning. They have been derived from the clinical reasoning work of Patricia Benner, Lisa Day, and Linda Caputi.

 I have adapted their work to create a unique “template” of clinical reasoning questions that are situated in my case studies and the handout below. These resources have been “field tested” by my students and revised and improved to maximize student learning!

The use of this “template” of clinical reasoning questions in the classroom gives your students the opportunity to PRACTICE nurse thinking and bring clinical learning into the classroom, which is one of the transformational paradigm changes advocated in Educating Nurses!

CLICK HERE to view current list of FREE clinical reasoning downloads and to download my highly regarded template of clinical reasoning questions that will prepare students to THINK like a nurse!

FACULTY Essentials Bundle ($30) my best value includes these additional downloads:

CLICK HERE to purchase

I. Before You Begin

1. Preview the introduction, table of contents of the 2nd edition of my student text: THINK Like a Nurse: Practical Preparation for Professional Practice
Emphasizes NEED TO KNOW content and thinking like a nurse in practice using clinical reasoning. Excellent resource for students with numerous supplemental hyperlinks! Please email: to request a FREE copy to review. Please use college/faculty email address. Students may purchase directly from KeithRN.
2. FACULTY-CLASSROOM Article: Think Like a Nurse: Transforming Nursing Education So Our Graduates are Prepared for Professional Practice
3. FACULTY-CLINICAL Article: Care Like a Nurse: Developing the “Art” of Nursing in Our Students

II. Foundation: The “Art” of Nursing

4. STUDENT-CLINICAL Worksheet: Developing a Plan of Intentional Caring-Use this to develop caring behaviors in the clinical setting. See “Teaching Caring” tab on for further information.
5. STUDENT-CLINICAL Handout: Professional Responsibilities as a Student Nurse

III. Building the Walls: Applied Sciences of Nursing

6. STUDENT-CLINICAL Handout: Comprehending Cardiac Medications
7. STUDENT-CLINICAL Handout: Clinical lab Values and Nursing Responsibilities
8. STUDENT-CLINICAL Worksheet: “Lab Planning”-Lab Tests That Must Be Mastered
9. STUDENT-CLINICAL Handout: Most Common Categories of Medications
10. STUDENT-CLINICAL Worksheet: Medications to Master

IV. Roof: Thinking Like a Nurse

SEPSIS-Clinical Reasoning Case Studies-PRACTICE nurse thinking in the safety of the classroom! Complete with blank student copy and fully developed answer key.
11. Sepsis: Fundamental Reasoning Clinical Reasoning Case Study
12. Sepsis: Rapid Reasoning Clinical Reasoning Case Study
13. Sepsis: Unfolding Reasoning Clinical Reasoning Case Study
TEMPLATES to Build Your Own Clinical Reasoning Case Studies (Word doc. so you can modify!)
14. Fundamental Reasoning Template
15. Rapid Reasoning Template
16. Unfolding Reasoning Template

Clinical Reasoning in the Clinical Tools

17. STUDENT-CLINICAL handout: Clinical Reasoning Questions to Develop Nurse Thinking
Use this instead of a traditional care plan and you may never go back!
18. STUDENT-CLINICAL Worksheet: Patient Preparation-can be used in second level or summative clinical
19. STUDENT-CLINICAL: Alternative Clinical Assignment to Patient Care: Putting the Pieces Together- Digging Deeper to Develop Clinical Reasoning-too many students in clinical or desire to promote DEEP nurse thinking? This was done in groups of two in my clinical and has been useful to promote learning!

V. Odds & Ends

20. FACULTY handout: Declaration to Transform Nursing Education-sign this pledge to BE THE CHANGE!
21. FACULTY/STUDENT booklet: For Your Joy by John Piper-this is the only resource I did not write, but is the most important. Lasting joy cannot come from what we do, but who we know…