Promoting the Self-Regulation of Clinical Reasoning Skills in Nursing Students

R. Kuiper*, D. Pesut, D. Kautz
University of North Carolina Wilmington School of Nursing, Wilmington, North Carolina, USA

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© Kuiper et al.; Licensee Bentham Open.

open-access license: This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the work is properly cited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the University of North Carolina Wilmington School of Nursing, Wilmington, North Carolina, USA; E-mail:



The purpose of this paper is to describe the research surrounding the theories and models the authors united to describe the essential components of clinical reasoning in nursing practice education. The research was conducted with nursing students in health care settings through the application of teaching and learning strategies with the Self-Regulated Learning Model (SRL) and the Outcome-Present-State-Test (OPT) Model of Reflective Clinical Reasoning. Standardized nursing languages provided the content and clinical vocabulary for the clinical reasoning task.

Materials and Methods:

This descriptive study described the application of the OPT model of clinical reasoning, use of nursing language content, and reflective journals based on the SRL model with 66 undergraduate nursing students over an 8 month period of time. The study tested the idea that self-regulation of clinical reasoning skills can be developed using self-regulation theory and the OPT model.


This research supports a framework for effective teaching and learning methods to promote and document learner progress in mastering clinical reasoning skills. Self-regulated Learning strategies coupled with the OPT model suggest benefits of self-observation and self-monitoring during clinical reasoning activities, and pinpoints where guidance is needed for the development of cognitive and metacognitive awareness.

Recommendations and Conclusions:

Thinking and reasoning about the complexities of patient care needs requires attention to the content, processes and outcomes that make a nursing care difference. These principles and concepts are valuable to clinical decision making for nurses globally as they deal with local, regional, national and international health care issues.

Keywords: Nursing education, clinical reasoning, self-regulated learning, reflective thinking, standardized nursing language, metacognition.