Critical Thinking: need help

  1. Five weeks and 2 exams into the ADN program and getting beat up with critical thinking questions on analysis/application level...
    Need some relief...any ideas/suggestions in approaching this
    type of question will be much appreciated....Thanks Dean
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  2. 15 Comments

  3. by   delirium
    Dean,
    It would really help you to get some NCLEX books. Do the practice questions. Most nursing schools have application, critical thinking type questions that mimic NCLEX questions, to help their students do well on the boards (and so they can boast about a high pass rate to get new students and their crisp tuition dollars).
    So, it would help to get used to that style of questioning. Really focus on what the question is actually asking you. 9 times out of 10 (unless you don't go to lecture) you have the information you need to answer the question, you just have to identify what the true question is and what the distractors are.
    If you need anything, PM me.
    Del
  4. by   kimtab
    I agree with the above. Those NCLEX review books are good. I have the Saunders Q&A and it has test strategies along with every question (telling you the logic behind eliminating certain answers.) Read the question carefully and decide how you would answer it before you look at your choices. Don't see your answer there when you look? See if you can eliminate at least 2 choices to start off. Remember you are looking for the BEST right answer because more than one of the choices will probably be a correct intervention, so keep your priorities (ABC, maslow, whatever they told you your priorities were) in mind.

    Another thing that gets me is overanalyzing. I read the question carefully and answer carefully and then don't go back to it. On the first test I changed a correct answer to an incorrect one after reviewing it!
  5. by   Love-A-Nurse
    originally posted by dean7
    five weeks and 2 exams into the adn program and getting beat up with critical thinking questions on analysis/application level...
    need some relief...any ideas/suggestions in approaching this
    type of question will be much appreciated....thanks dean
    since you have gotten some sound advise, i wanted to welcome you to the board and all the best to you.
  6. by   lindagio
    The NCLEX books are excellent. It took me 2 semesters to get used to critical thinking. I always said if I knew what I know now I would have done alot better. Don't overanalyze the quesstion or add stuff that is not in the question. I found the Kaplan book great to help with test taking skills. Best wishes
  7. by   nicoleinphilly
    NCLEX NCLEX NCLEX!! If your stuck on a question....remember.....ABC is always first.....airway, breathing, circulation is your first choice. IN a communication question, always pick the choice that is non-threating to the patient and is more of an open-ended question. PAY ATTENTION to what they are asking you....is it what is MOST IMPORTANT,LEAST IMPORTANT, ETC..... ALot of students get answers wrong simply because they didnt read exactly what the question was asking them. I suggest also...."Test Success, A guide for beginning nursing students" Its an excellent book to get you started and figure out how they try to get you a bit confused on tests. My teacher also gave us a tip....all the way to your test repeat to yourself over and over and over again..."I KNOW THIS INFORMATION, I KNOW THIS INFORMATION." Another good thing to do is wear a rubber band on your wrist on test day and when you dont know an answer .....snap it! That little "ouch" usually lowers your anxiety enough to get back in the groove! BEst of luck!
  8. by   RNConnieF
    Look at the question to determine what it is asking, then figure out what the answer is BEFORE you look at the answers. Try to determine from the question what is need: do you need additional information (assessment), do you need to do something (implementation), apply ABC's, apply Maslow, pain is psycho-social and physical needs take priority, look at the pt. scenario and get rid of unnecessary information. This sounds like a lot but it makes sense if you think about it; i.e. "Mrs. A, a 36 YO with a PMH of 2 term pregnancies, one preterm still birth, asthma, a T&A, and IDDM is 4 hours out of surgery to remove an ectopic pregnancy. She calls you to her room an reports pain at 7 at her incision site. On assessment you find her grimacing, guarding, diaphoretic, with a RR of 32, and slurred speech with difficulty concentrating. The nurses priority is:
    A) Call the MD for orders for pain relief
    B) Assess pts emotional response to losing a pregnancy.
    C) Assess the patient for abd. tenderness, guarding, and distension.
    D) Perform an accu check.
    First: what is the question asking? What is the PRIORITY?
    Second: What information do you NOT need right now? That she had a T&A, that she has two living children and that she had a still birth may be relevant later BUT they are unimportant right now, that she has a PMH of asthma is important but not in this case, she is not in resp. distress. The pt. is an IDD this should remain as it is physical. The pt. is reporting pain at 7 BUT remember, pain is psycho-social.
    Third: Apply Maslow- physical first, psycho-social later. IDDM is physical, pain is psycho-social.
    Your answer HAS to be get an accucheck, the symptoms MAY be pain related but you have to eliminate physical causes- these symptoms may be related to low blood sugar. The question is OB focused but your first response is to look at the pain issue, the second response is to look at the OB aspect of the question, but the REAL priority is that this woman is an IDD who was pregnant, just came out of surgery which changes insulin needs and blood sugar and also leads you to believe she has been NPO for several hours. Her blood sugar must be assessed before anything else. Blood sugar regulation is a priority in a diabetic. See, it's not what you know it's how you think.
  9. by   colleen10
    Hi Dean,

    I'm still finishing pre and co req's but I wanted to tell you good luck. Haven't had to deal with the "Critical Thinking" issues yet but not looking forward to it either.

    I remember in college the first time around I had to take Business Law. The tests were awful. I eventually started to do well on them by picking the answer that I felt was completely wrong and didn't make sense.

    Isn't the law grand?!

    Good luck!
  10. by   Nurse2BIHope
    Dean,
    I am riding in the same boat as you. I am a 1st year nursing student in an ASN program and I am feeling over-whelmed, this critical thinking stuff is driving me nuts. I took most of my pre req's at a local community college and carried a 3.8 average. As of my 2nd Nursing theory test I am holding a low B or high C+. This of course is not helping me with any of my critical thinking skills. All it is making me think is....can I do this? My clinical evaluations have all been passing, but I am struggling with theory. Maybe we can help each other through this. And if anyone else has any suggestions or helpful ideas...I'd love to hear from you.

    Good luck to you and if you need an encouraging word, e-mail me.



    "We don't stop playing because we grow old. We grow old because we stop playing."
  11. by   rebelwaclause
  12. by   rebelwaclause
    Did they help?
  13. by   Love-A-Nurse
    rebel, thanks!
  14. by   Love-A-Nurse
    originally posted by rebelwaclause
    did they help?
    yes and again, thanks.

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