Edited by Marta Sinclair
Chapter 13: Intuitive Decision Making in Emergency Medicine: An Explorative Study
Christian Harteis, Christian Morgenthaler, Christine Kugler, Gabriel Roth, Bernhard Graf and Barbara Morgenthaler
Christian Harteis, Barbara Morgenthaler, Christine Kugler, Karl-Peter Ittner, Gabriel Roth and Bernhard Graf Emergency physicians undertake demanding and responsible work, often in situations that call for quick and competent actions in order to save life and preserve health. In most cases it is impossible to fully appraise an accident location, to conduct a complete anamnesis or to determine a patient’s medical history. Rather, emergency physicians have to initiate appropriate interventions without deliberated analyses by making spontaneous decisions (Leprohon & Patel, 1995). The reliable appropriateness of these decisions determines the quality of the physician’s performance. As emergency medicine cases are generally not standard but rather vary with regard to problems and challenges, experience and routines cannot fully explain an emergency physician’s capability to cope competently with the demands of an emergency situation. It might be intuition which enables them to perform at a high level under conditions as described above (King & Macleod Clark, 2002). WHAT EMERGENCY PHYSICIANS NEED: A STABLE AND RELIABLE HIGH PERFORMANCE Following Posner (1988), expertise is the general basis for enabling individuals to perform consistently at a high level. Hence, this section briefly discusses the state of research on expertise which indicates that intuition is an important component of it. A general idea of information processing provides opportunities for an empirical assessment of the phenomenon of intuition. Expertise Research Expertise research usually describes the development of individual knowledge structures during the development from novice to expert. This approach dates from studies on chess which investigated the role of memory...
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