Thinking as a Nurse

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Ask the following 4 questions:. Just as there are similarities among the definitions of critical thinking across subject areas and levels, there are several generally recognized hallmarks of teaching for critical thinking. These include:.

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Turning New Nurses Into Critical Thinkers

After evaluating where new nurses are at in terms of critical-thinking skills, look at the attributes of a critical thinker. Patient safety can be directly affected by the critical thinking ability of a nurse. Nurses must have the ability to recognize changes in patient condition, perform independent nursing interventions, anticipate orders, and prioritize. These actions require critical thinking ability, advanced problem-solving skills and the ability to communicate clearly.

Critical Thinking for Nurses

Patient safety may be compromised if a nurse cannot provide clinically competent care. Assessments such as a performance-based development system PBDS can provide information about learning needs and facilitate individualized orientation targeted to increase performance level. Research has shown that these instruments predict strength in critical thinking in problem situations and success on professional licensure examinations.

Can the nurse manage the problem safely and effectively, recognizing his or her scope of practice? Does the nurse have a relative sense of urgency?

Nursing Student Stories on Learning How to Think Like a Nurse

Does the nurse take the right action for the right reason? These include: Promote interaction among students as they learn. Learning in a group setting often helps each member achieve more. Ask open-ended questions that do not assume "one right answer. Open-ended questions also encourage students to think and respond creatively, without fear of giving the "wrong" answer. To develop as a critical thinker one must be motivated to develop the attitudes and dispositions of a fair-minded thinker. That is, one must be willing to suspend judgments until one truly understands another point of view and can articulate the position that another person holds on an issue.

Nurses come to reasoned judgments so that they can act competently in practice.

They continually monitor their thinking; questioning and reflecting on the quality of thinking occurring in how they reason about nursing practice. Sloppy, superficial thinking leads to poor practice. Critical inquiry is an important quality for safe practice. Nurses must pose questions about practice and be willing to attempt to seek answers about practice.

How to Think Like a Nurse Using Clinical Reasoning

Nurses must be willing to attempt to seek answers to the difficult questions inherent in practice, as well as the obvious. Question posing presupposes intellectual humility and a willingness to admit to one's areas of ignorance as well as, intellectual curiosity and perseverance and willingness to seek answers. Critical thinkers in nursing are truth seekers and demonstrate open-mindedness and tolerance for others' views with constant sensitivity to the possibility of their own bias.

Nurse's who are critical thinkers value intellectually challenging situations and are self-confident in their well reasoned thoughts. To reason effectively, nurses have developed skills and abilities essential for sound reasoning.


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Critical Thinking Skills and Abilities. Critical thinkers in nursing are skilful in applying intellectual skills for sound reasoning. These skills have been defined as information gathering, focusing, remembering, organizing, analyzing, generating, integrating and evaluating Registered Nurse's Association of British Columbia, The focus of classroom and clinical activities is to develop the nurse's understanding of scholarly, academic work through the effective use of intellectual abilities and skills.

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As you encounter increasingly more complex practice situations you will be required to think through and reason about nursing in greater depth and draw on deeper, more sophisticated comprehension of what it means to be a nurse in clinical practice. Nursing is never a superficial, meaningless activity. All acts in nursing are deeply significant and require of the nurse a mind fully engaged in the practice of nursing. This is the challenge of nursing; critical, reflective practice based on the sound reasoning of intelligent minds committed to safe, effective client care.

To accomplish this goal, students will be required to reason about nursing by reading, writing, listening and speaking critically. By doing so you will be thinking critically about nursing and ensuring that you gain in-depth knowledge about nursing as a practice profession. Critical Thinking Critical Listening: A mode of monitoring how we are listening so as to maximize our accurate understanding of what another person is saying.

By understanding the logic of human communication - that everything spoken expresses point of view, uses some ideas and not others, has implications, etc. Critical Thinking: 1 Disciplined, self-directed thinking which implies the perfection of thinking appropriate to a particular mode or domain of thinking. Critical Writing: To express oneself in languages required that one arrange ideas in some relationships to each other.

Critical Thinking Skills in Nursing Management

When accuracy and truth are at issue, then we must understand what our thesis is, how we can support it, how we can elaborate it to make it intelligible to others, what objections can be raised to it from other points of view, what the limitations are to our point of view, and so forth. Disciplined writing requires disciplined thinking; disciplined thinking is achieved through disciplined writing. Critical Reading: Critical reading is an active, intellectually engaged process in which the reader participates in an inner dialogue with the writer.

Most people read uncritically and so miss some part of what is expressed while distorting other parts. A critical reader realizes the way in which reading, by its very nature, means entering into a point of view other than our own, the point of view of the writer. A critical reader actively looks for assumptions, key concepts and ideas, reasons and justifications, supporting examples, parallel experiences, implications and consequences, and any other structural features of the written text to interpret and assess it accurately and fairly.

Critical Speaking: Critical speaking is an active process of expressing verbally a point of view, ideas and thoughts such that others attain an in-depth understanding of the speaker's personal perspective on an issue. Monitoring how we express ourselves verbally will ensure that we maximize accurate understanding of what we mean through active dialogue and openness to feedback on our views.

Heaslip, Paul, R. Norris, S. Evaluating critical thinking.