National Collegiate Honors Council


Date of this Version

Spring 2004


Published in Journal of the National Collegiate Honors Council 5:1, Spring/Summer 2004. Copyright © 2004 by the National Collegiate Honors Council.


Clinical judgment in nursing requires integration of a broad set of concepts from patho-physiological processes and situation-specific assessments to human caring and interpersonal communication. Nursing students consistently report difficulty in understanding and applying the complexities and ambiguities of care. They often perceive mixed messages and competing perspectives that cannot be resolved; their increasing frustration can produce anxiety about the conceptual tasks of scholarship. Honors research in nursing addresses this problem directly. Students have the opportunity to develop project ideas through all phases of the research process. They select a clinical question, relate it to nursing theory and current literature, design a project plan and implement the plan. In this process they experience first-hand how a single mode of thinking can be tracked through conceptualization to practice. Data-based research supports the student’s transition to valuing evidence-based practice. As different students have considered different clinical questions, a variety of modes of thinking have been observed. Deductive, inductive and intuitive ways of understanding have been chosen for varied Honors research projects. This analysis looks at the process of Honors research in the discipline of nursing and how Honors students can use the process to provide an advanced foundation for practice in the discipline.