The sixth (sick) sense

Nurses do indeed have a sixth sense. No, I didn’t misspell “sick” sense. I mean, we have an instinct that civilians don’t have.

The nursing “sixth sense” is that moment when your gut gets those “butterflies,” or when A plus B does not equal C.

It’s a part of that ever-important skillset of critical thinking, but it’s also a separate entity altogether. Maybe you can call it a form of ESP:

ESP is also sometimes casually referred to as a sixth sense, gut instinct or hunch, which are historical English idioms. The term implies acquisition of information by means external to the basic limiting assumptions of science, such as that organisms can only receive information from the past to the present.

So. ESP. It’s one of those skills that seasoned nurses just “have.” I’m not sure if it’s something we witness, repeat, learn, see, or simply acquire through experience. Maybe it’s just that tried and true “learn as you go” skill? Honestly, I really don’t know how it’s acquired, I just know it exists.

In fact, I’m more sure than ever after this past semester of classes. This “instinct” was referenced several times during my clinical rotation and during a couple lectures in the nurse practitioner program I’m attending.

The question was posed, “Does the patient look sick?”

……. follow the link to read the rest:

via Nurses and their sixth sense | Scrubs – The Leading Lifestyle Nursing Magazine Featuring Inspirational and Informational Nursing Articles.

A recent post from over at Scrubs Magazine. Any thoughts???


4 thoughts on “The sixth (sick) sense

  1. Its so true, all the numbers can be right, the cxray is fine, etc but the patient just doesnt look right. I always learned to look at the patient, not the numbers and im glad i always stayed true to it. Granted, ive been wrong a few times, but 95% of the time, im dead on. “i just have a feeling, or somethings not right, he doesnt look good” Sometimes, docs listen to you, since im a seasoned critical care nurse, our docs trust us and when we say its not good, they trust us, half the docs are so new anyhow. So definately go with your gut, dont be afraid of your six sense. Better safe than sorry. And if you dont have it yet, you’ll figure it out, just remember- always look at the patient!

  2. I have often saved patient’s lives by listening to my sixth sense. Unfortunately, not all nurses have it or listen to it. Patients have it too. Once again, they often don’t listen usually to their detriment.

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