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Nursing issues
Cognitive bias is a crucial factor in nurses’ decision making
  1. Eoin D O’Sullivan
  1. Kidney Health Service, Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Dr Eoin D O’Sullivan, Kidney Health Service, Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia; eoindosullivan{at}

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Commentary on: Thirsk LM, Panchuk JT, Stahlke S, et al. Cognitive and implicit biases in nurses’ judgment and decision-making: A scoping review. Int J Nurs Stud. 2022 May 24;133:104284. doi: 10.1016/j.ijnurstu.2022.104284

Implications for practice and research

  • Nursing staff should be aware of the risk of cognitive and implicit bias in decision making, and appreciate factors, which can contribute to bias.

  • There is a need for pragmatic, real-world research to better understand bias in nursing, and to test debiasing interventions in clinical practice


Cognitive biases are innate mental short cuts or systematic errors occurring during decision making that lead to incorrect decisions.1 Cognitive bias negatively impacts clinical decision making and contributes to poor health outcomes. There is an increasing interest in cognitive bias and related interventions, but the majority of research has focused on physicians as decision makers. Thirsk et al describe the extent of the literature …

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  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.