Critical Thinking: you have it or you don't. Agree or disagree? - page 2

I was told during my brief stint working med surg that you either have critical thinking or you don't. Thoughts?... Read More

  1. by   itsmejuli
    Critical thinking....knowing the difference between when to assume and when to ask.

    I supervise a few of these people.
  2. by   Anna Flaxis
    I think that critical thinking is about problem solving, and that problem solving skills can be learned. I think the ideal time to teach problem solving is in early childhood, and that parents and teachers have the biggest impact. So no,I don't believe you either have it or you don't. I believe that all people have some problem solving ability, but that the extent of its development falls along a spectrum that is influenced by genetic, organic, environmental, and psychosocial factors.
  3. by   joanna73
    I would a point. I'm not a fan of the "all or nothing" mentality, and life is complicated. Regarding critical thinking, the human brain needs exercise, fuel, and sleep to function properly, and that's just for starters. Critical thinking can be learned and practised, as most other things can. However, I do think that critical thinking is inherently natural for some people, while others really struggle with problem solving, being analytical, planning ahead, etc.
  4. by   tewdles
    Critical thinking is what we learn and then practice to make habit. Good nurses develop this skill early and hone it over time.

    We have probably all worked with nurses who have poorly developed critical thinking skills and are more focused on tasks than on the patient.
  5. by   nurseprnRN
    The current fad of thinking better education is unnecessarily hard, academics are useless eggheads, science is a matter of opinion, and the like has now officially entered this forum.

    If common sense were common, more people would have it. If more people valued critical thinking because they understood its irreplaceable applicability to best practice, we wouldn't be having this discussion.

    Of course it's something you have to learn, of course it's something that is not necessarily inborn.

    The question is, will the good nurse take the trouble to acquire this very basic skill, or pooh-pooh it because "common sense beats education every time"? Hint: It sure as hell does not. This is why we have the concept of education for nursing, for evidence-based practice, and for autonomy. These are the bases of our Scope and Standards, which, even if you haven't taken the trouble read them, still apply to your practice.

    If you don't believe in that, then why bother with being a nurse? Because you had a drreeeeaaaammmm and a paaaasssssiooonnnnnn? Not enough, no, it's not. Asking whether you agree that you have it or don't isn't the point and isn't even a useful question to ask: Critical thinking is an integral part of the nursing process; you cannot properly fulfill the role of a real nurse without it. You can look it up.
  6. by   thecool1Nscrubs2no
    I feel critical thinking continues to be fine tune as you grown and learn within your practice. Critical thinking can be learn and we all have a foundation that can be expanded and refined.
  7. by   LTCnurse11
    Grntea, I believe in your type of thinking. It's not a matter of agreeing or disagreeing but what "critical thinking" really is. My whole purpose in posting this question was to point out how assenine it is to make a statement as such. This so called "all or nothing" mentality was verbalized to me several times during my experience on this particular med surg floor. The nurse manager stated she thought I was too task oriented, slow and overall was concerned with my performance and said "I think you could put a patient at risk". I had a lukewarm relationship with one preceptor in the beginning of my orientation for nights then I was switched around between 2 preceptors for the day shift because my first one stated "I don't think I could train you." That made my anxiety skyrocket. I never, ever caused harm to a patient but I was constantly asking questions. I had minimal experience with IV therapy prior to starting on med surg, that made me uncomfortable. I admit, I was very focused on tasks and just learning to get through my shift. I had never worked an acute unit an was anxious going in and felt like I lacked general support and understanding. At the time of my hire on this floor I was an RN for 9 months. I took that PBDS test and got an "unacceptable" twice. Based on that, my nurse manager decided to say I "lack critical thinking". I looked up my diagnoses, asked questions and overall tried my best to be interested in any and all learning opportunities.

    Anyway, I guess in a round about way I'm saying that I feel that being a critical thinker is created through the nursing practice. Not some special gift. All nurses must work to do this which is why it's called nursing "practice".
  8. by   Mijourney
    Great points everybody! No, I do not see critical thinking in black and white. That's too oversimplified in my opinion. I do agree with those who say that the environment in which you were born and raised and the environment which you live in has great impact. Not only that life experiences greatly impact critical thinking. No two people are alike supposedly, so if you are a teacher, instructor, or educator and you see potential, you just may have to spend extra time nurturing a new nurse. Sometimes, it's just a matter of that new nurse becoming confident and encouraged in his/her practice. That's why I think that new and even some experienced nurses grow immensely having a mentor.
  9. by   CheerioRN
    I agree, but I also think it's more 'rounded' than that. I think that nurses either have the critical thinking it takes for the job or they don't, but they don't necessarily all have to have the same level of critical thinking, if that makes sense
  10. by   Melilem
    I define critical thinking as the ability to make the best educated guess based on the knowledge you have. I'm pretty sure nursing school the NCLEX thins out the non-critical thinkers. After that, it's just a matter of experience. I think you continue to develop critical thinking throughout your career though, it becomes easier with use.
  11. by   wanderlust99
    it's obtained
  12. by   PMFB-RN
    Quote from workingharder
    I don't think there is a standard definition of "critical thinking", so I'll give my definition.n that they are lacking in the ability to use critical thinking, only that partition of it that relates to nursing.
    At least as important as a definition would be some way of measuring critical thinking skills. I get so tired of people saying things like "BSN prepared nurse have better critical thinking skills than nurses with ADNs." Or ICU nurse have better critical thinking skills than ER nurses do". Unless one has a way to measure critical thinking skills such statment are nothing more than opinion.
  13. by   netglow
    It's just more stupidity. Another label of nonsense. I guess someone needs a label or they won't survive.

    As in everything, if you put in the time and effort into it, soon you will become proficient. And, as in everything, some become more proficient than others ...yawn.