Critical Thinking: you have it or you don't. Agree or disagree? - page 3

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

  1. Visit  marcos9999 profile page
    0
    Our minds are pliable and always learning so everyone can develop critical thinking if they focus on achieving it. You might be a quick thinking person but if you don't have much experience your critical thinking will be fast but may not be accurate. There are many shades to critical thinking such as speed, judgment, experience, knowledge, prioritization skills, overall in my opinion the most the skill most associated with critical thinking is judgment or the ability to know what's right and what's wrong. Than one have to ask what are we critically thinking about some people might be good at critically think of one think while others may not. In the end you can critically think about your own question.
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  3. Visit  metal_m0nk profile page
    6
    Quote from GrnTea
    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.
    This assumes an end goal of maintaining best practice standards, which not all nurses strive for unfortunately.

    I think most all nurses use critical thinking - whether they are deciding how to expend as little energy as possible during a shift or connecting the pieces of the best practice puzzle.

    As for new nurses....It usually isn't until a novice has mastered some sort of work flow that the lanes of thought open up for the more abstract goal oriented thinking. Once skills and procedures become a matter of rote instead of an exercise in problem solving themselves, the focus can then shift from task orientation to big picture integration. Even the most natural critical thinkers can fall short early in their careers if not allowed to master the work environment before being pressured to perform to an expert standard.
    dudette10, GrnTea, AnonRNC, and 3 others like this.
  4. Visit  Kidrn911 profile page
    2
    I think alot comes with experience
    imintrouble and gummi bear like this.
  5. Visit  Sugarcoma profile page
    1
    Critical thinking......I still cannot adequately define it. Kind of like Justice Potter who said of obscenity "I can't define it but I know it when I see it." For me it means a sort of fluidity in thinking, common sense, and a pinch of experience thrown in the mix.

    I do not think you can say that someone either has it or does not, but I do think that many people have a greater ability naturally than others. Does this mean that someone will NEVER be able to critically think? Not always. Sometimes it is a matter of support and education. It is also true that some people just cannot master it no matter how much education or support they receive. It is also true that there are those who are pretty good critical thinkers most of the time but have those shining moments when you have to wonder if they left their brain at home that day. I count myself as a member of this group.

    At my previous job we oriented frequently and in batches of 5 or more. Usually one of the group would quickly distinguish themselves as the strongest and one would quickly distinguish themselves at the bottom. What separated these nurses? Their ability to critically think. As time went by the position in the group may change as some of the others developed their abilities but occasionally we would encounter one or more that stayed stagnant solely because they just could not master critical thinking. So yes time and experience can develop it, improve it, and build on the ability. Some nurses who fall short on one unit may eventually rise to the top on another. The difference can be a slower pace, more experienced nurses as teachers, understanding peers, or management who is truly vested in growing their employees or a combination of these.

    It has been my experience that those nurses who possess less than adequate critical thinking skills glob on to protocol with all their might. The protocol is law regardless of the situation! I will give you an example. Post-op unit with a manager who is HUGE on standards of care, skip, leap, etc. DVT prophylaxis was a big deal and nurses learned quickly to push for sub-q heparin or lovenox. We had a couple of nurses who would become personally offended when a patient was not on DVT prophylaxis. They would become irate, try to bully you in report as to why you did not get it and then they would call the first year and get an order. They would then gloat when you returned the next day about how they got the order and you did not! It just did not occur to them that giving heparin to someone with an active head bleed a blood thinner was not a good idea, after all there was a protocol. You could explain it until you were blue in the face but they just would not get it. This led to many of our MD's writing orders like: DO NOT PLACE PATIENT ON HEPARIN, DO NOT REMOVE FOLEY WITHOUT ORDER, DO NOT HOLD LOPRESSOR WITHOUT SPEAKING TO DOCTOR etc. it was pretty sad.
    cardiacrocks likes this.
  6. Visit  Orange Tree profile page
    4
    I agree that you have it or you don't. Though as a new grad, you don't have the same pool of knowledge to draw from that an experienced nurse does. I don't care how good you are at putting puzzles together- if there are lots of missing pieces, it's going to be difficult.
    tewdles, joanna73, imintrouble, and 1 other like this.
  7. Visit  BlueDevil,DNP profile page
    7
    Strongly disagree. People grow and learn new skills every day.
    Aurora77, GrnTea, joanna73, and 4 others like this.
  8. Visit  Spidey's mom profile page
    1
    Quote from BlueDevil,DNP
    Strongly disagree. People grow and learn new skills every day.
    Strongly agree with you.
    imintrouble likes this.
  9. Visit  VivaLasViejas profile page
    7
    I believe critical thinking skills are those we develop as we learn to think at a higher level. An example of this is root-cause analysis---for many of us, it's not enough to document that our patient fell and what happened to him as a result; we investigate the incident much like a detective, researching the possible causes, and then going beyond the obvious to get to the precipitating factors so we can try to prevent the next fall.

    Yes, some people have an easier time than others in learning these skills, and there are some who never get out of the starting gate---they do everything by rote for their entire lives, and thus do not make good nurses. I think that critical thinking can be taught to some extent; after all, we don't come fresh from nursing school fully equipped with the knowledge that a 20-year veteran possesses. And yes, almost anyone can be taught to insert an IV, drop an NG tube and so forth; but if the basic building materials aren't there---if a person's brain isn't firing on all 8 cylinders, shall we say---it's all but impossible to make him or her understand the rationale behind the task. Therein lies the critical-thinking piece, IMHO.
    dudette10, Aurora77, tewdles, and 4 others like this.
  10. Visit  metal_m0nk profile page
    10
    Quote from Sugarcoma
    It has been my experience that those nurses who possess less than adequate critical thinking skills glob on to protocol with all their might. The protocol is law regardless of the situation! I will give you an example. Post-op unit with a manager who is HUGE on standards of care, skip, leap, etc. DVT prophylaxis was a big deal and nurses learned quickly to push for sub-q heparin or lovenox. We had a couple of nurses who would become personally offended when a patient was not on DVT prophylaxis. They would become irate, try to bully you in report as to why you did not get it and then they would call the first year and get an order. They would then gloat when you returned the next day about how they got the order and you did not! It just did not occur to them that giving heparin to someone with an active head bleed a blood thinner was not a good idea, after all there was a protocol. You could explain it until you were blue in the face but they just would not get it. This led to many of our MD's writing orders like: DO NOT PLACE PATIENT ON HEPARIN, DO NOT REMOVE FOLEY WITHOUT ORDER, DO NOT HOLD LOPRESSOR WITHOUT SPEAKING TO DOCTOR etc. it was pretty sad.
    You raise an interesting point. I think that in order to even begin to be a critical thinker, you have to first be able to accept ambiguity. A natural critical thinker expects more than one answer to a question, more than one solution to a problem, or more than one way of looking at things. A learned critical thinker accepts more than one answer to a question, more than one solution to a problem, or more than one way of looking at things. Those who struggle with critical thinking reject the possibility that there is more than one answer to a question, more than one solution to a problem, or more than one way of looking at things. Plenty of "all or nothing" thinkers out there.
    dudette10, Aurora77, tewdles, and 7 others like this.
  11. Visit  B00P profile page
    0
    The ability to critically think has haunted me. I have some of it down, but I think sometimes I go too far in thinking that anything is possible, which brings me back to, only one thing is the best possibly. But I don't think I'm quite there in picking the best one.

    Quote from triquee
    Those who struggle with critical thinking reject the possibility that there is more than one answer to a question, more than one solution to a problem, or more than one way of looking at things. Plenty of "all or nothing" thinkers out there.
    I agree with you in that this is why some people struggle with it, but not an absolute. You just demonstrated that you reject the possibility of there being different reasons for struggling with critically thinking.
  12. Visit  metal_m0nk profile page
    0
    Quote from SUNFL0WER
    I agree with you in that this is why some people struggle with it, but not an absolute. You just demonstrated that you reject the possibility of there being different reasons for struggling with critically thinking.
    I'm not sure what you're saying here. I never once stated that I reject the possibility of there being different reasons for struggling with critical thinking. In fact, earlier on in the thread, I clearly stated that even those with the innate facility for critical thinking can struggle with it - if not given the proper tools to develop it in specific environments, situations or circumstances.

    A person can reject ambiguity for a number of reasons. In my first post, the reason being that the novice does not yet have the facility to deal with ambiguity because he/she does not have a firm enough skill base to draw from. He/she must suspend the acceptance of ambiguity to some degree in order to develop a solid skill base.

    My second post was in answer to a poster who described an individual or set of individuals who should have known better. They had the tools to be able to tell the difference, as experienced nurses, they had the skills – but chose instead to follow black and white thinking to the letter rather than think/act beyond that and accept that the application of their skills should be tailored in “gray” type situations.

    I could read some studies and probably come out with all sorts of mitigating circumstances for rejection of ambiguity, but the fact would remain that rejection of ambiguity could very well be at the root of the struggle with critical thinking. Identifying the cause of rejection will help to overcome it, no doubt - but the end goal is the same - overcoming it...It's that old saying if you want to solve a problem, you have to first identify that there is a problem.
    Last edit by metal_m0nk on Jan 7, '13
  13. Visit  kalevra profile page
    0
    Critical thinking requires development, not many people are born with a highly developed level of critical thinking. Most people are born with enough to keep you alive and keep you going. School and life experience helps you develop what god gave you. No one was born a nuclear engineer.

    Unless of course you are one of the few genuine geniuses who was born how to do advanced calculus.
  14. Visit  PedRN86 profile page
    0
    Disagree! You don't pop out of the womb knowing how to be a nurse. Likewise, critical thinking isn't something you just have or don't have. It's all a lifelong learning process.


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