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Today, they are skilled and capable professionals whose expertise is essential to patient care and public health initiatives. So what exactly is critical thinking? This one is our favorite: Critical thinking is the ability to recognize problems and raise questions, gather evidence to support answers and solutions, evaluate alternative solutions, and communicate effectively with others to implement solutions for the best possible outcomes.
In fact, critical thinking skills are what make young nurses effective while they are gaining on-the-job experience. A less experienced nurse with keen critical thinking skills will be able to strategize and manage all sorts of new situations, while dealing effectively with everyone involved — the patient, family members, physicians, and other care team members.
When do you need critical thinking? Multi-dimensional thinking means approaching a situation from more than one point of view.
In contrast, one-dimensional thinking tackles the task at hand from a single frame of reference. It definitely has its place in nursing — one-dimensional thinking is used when nurses chart vital signs or administer a medication. Critical thinking skills are needed when performing a nursing assessment or intervention, or acting as a patient advocate.
Critical thinking also involves viewing the patient as a whole person — and this means considering his own culture and goals, not just the goals of the healthcare organization. How would you handle a teenage girl who comes into your clinic asking for information about STDs?
Critical thinking forms the foundation of certain nursing specialties, like case management and infection control. These areas require strategizing, collaborative relationships, and a multi-dimensional approach to tackling a problem like preventing unnecessary hospital readmissions or discovering the source of an infection outbreak, for example.
And of course, nurse managers use critical thinking skills every day as they keep their units running smoothly. To develop your critical thinking skills, you can: Suspend judgment; demonstrate open-mindedness and a tolerance for other cultures and other views.
Seek out the truth by actively investigating a problem or situation. Ask questions and never be afraid to admit to a lack of knowledge.
Reflect on your own thinking process and the ways you reach a conclusion.
Indulge your own intellectual curiosity; be a lifelong learner. View your patients with empathy and from a whole-person perspective.
Look for a mentor with more experience than you have; join professional organizations. Advance your nursing education.
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Written by Bruce Petrie, Ph.Cody () proposes that the teaching of nursing theory (instead of generic nursing diagnoses and interventions) are a better way to enhance critical thinking for nurses, since nursing theory is unique to the nursing discipline.
In my program we were not "taught" -- it is a skill that is learned. IMO I can tell such a huge difference in my critical thinking skills from my first nursing class, to today- . If critical thinking can be taught, it seems like it should be taught and required as a pre-requisite (maybe using case studies?).
If crictical thinking can't be taught, it seems like there must be some way to assess whether or not a person already has this skill before admitting them into nursing school. Can Critical Thinking Skills Be Taught? March 31, By Keepit Real, RN 2 Comments Critical thinking is a term thrown around in nursing schools and hospitals all over the country.
Jun 21, · When one views critical thinking with varying philosophical lenses, important questions are raised and discussion is expanded. These questions illuminate different perspectives of critical thinking and attempt to explore whether critical thinking can be learned in nursing.
Jun 21, · Can One Learn to Think Critically? – A Philosophical Exploration These questions illuminate different perspectives of critical thinking and attempt to explore whether critical thinking can be learned in nursing.
The implications of taking a single philosophical viewpoint and a pluralistic approach to understanding critical.