I know the material, how can I learn how to apply it to the questions asked? How can I think critically when I am reading my assignments. Please help me on this, because I know I am somewhat knowledgeable.
the very beginning of saunders comprehensive review for the nclex-rn examination, 3rd edition, by linda anne silvestri gives most of the strategy in about 4 or 5 pages if people take the time to read it and digest what they tell you. some of it is incorporated into this powerpoint presentation:
if you don't have some kind of nclex review book already, you should get one. i have a copy of saunders comprehensive review for the nclex-rn examination, 3rd edition, by linda anne silvestri, but there are others out there. what i like about this saunders book is that is lists signs and symptoms of diseases in the order they occur and the severity. you need to know that kind of information for your critical thinking.
you need to know the pathophysiology of diseases you are being tested over. you must know the progression of symptoms as they go from mild to serious to fatal. this helps you determine priorities of care. interventions are geared to the symptoms.
you must also know the medical tests and treatments that the doctor is going to order. know which tests and treatments fit with each sign and symptom the patient has.
you have got to know the steps of the nursing process and what goes on in each step. nothing will trip you up as badly as placing a test question situation in the wrong step on the nursing process. every step of the nursing process is a link in a chain of events. a test question will often test your knowledge of a break somewhere in the link. most students want to gravitate to nursing interventions which come in step #3 of the nursing process, but be sure that this is what the question is asking. instructors know that students will do this so they use nursing interventions as distracters (wrong answers deliberately designed to draw you away from the correct answer!).
you just have to know the various principles of science, medicine and nursing behind the actions and interventions that are being done for the patient by the nurse and others in healthcare. this is where you pull in information from those pre-requisites you had to take to get into the nursing program.
always ask yourself "why". why does the patient have this symptom? why did the doctor order this? why would the patient be having this particular problem based upon what the question revealed? why? why? why? that is part of what gets you into your critical thinking component on these questions. the answers are often never as easy to find as you think. you have to go through the above things i just listed for you to get to the right answer.
Sep 17, '07
I agree that Saunders NCLEX review is an amazing book! Their chapter on how to answer nursing questions really does help.
Although, I have discovered that most nursing professors write their own "nursing" test questions and they don't always work under Saunder's general rules. Those rules definitely work with NCLEX questions though.
Sep 17, '07
Thank you very much for your input
Sep 18, '07
Critical thinking is evidence based as well, it is not based on opinion alone, or solely common sense