Critical Thinking: you have it or you don't. Agree or disagree? - page 8

by LTCnurse11 18,890 Views | 88 Comments

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


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    Once again, great discussion everyone! This may come off as... well I'll let you be the judge. It would seem that some of us are defining critical thinking in stages whereas the OP indicated that in their situation, it was about "you have it or you don't". So, can we see critical thinking as black and white or as gray? Critical thinking is required for decision making by all adults, no matter the trade or profession. The fact of the matter is that not everyone is cut out to be a nurse and that is why it is great that we have a multitude of other disciplines in which to choose.


    There are tests that measure abilities, knowledge, skills, and personality. Are these helpful along with getting the necessary training and education? I agree with those who indicate that everyone has critical thinking skills. it's just that to what extent and whether that along with other intrinsic and extrinsic characteristics are suitable for nursing practice. I also agree with those that indicate that if you receive a good quality preceptor or go through a good quality training program that you should be able to determine after a period of time whether nursing is the best path for you.
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    Should I be surprised that no one has mentioned the classic work on progress from novice to expert in this context?
    RN in training and Sugarcoma like this.
  3. 0
    Quote from GrnTea
    Should I be surprised that no one has mentioned the classic work on progress from novice to expert in this context?
    Maybe GrnTea...I will mention it I guess!!! ...

    I feel like a total geek (not that there is anything WRONG with that! ) by raving about Patricia Benner's Novice to Expert theory...I am actually reading a critical thinking and clinical judgement book to get myself refreshed for acute care for my first RN job...I have been a LPN for seven years and learned about nursing theory then...I was really interested on Benner's Theory characteristics of how a new grad may be comfortable with more direction, and continues to learn to trust their own judgment when experience is built upon. I find that this theory allowed me to communicate more effectively with my peers and precepts, as well as myself...I know that even though I have life and clinical experience, I am about to build on my experience, and I will enter the PICU (my new grad RN position) as a novice...that does not mean I am going to throw away my critical thinking skills nor will I show up as the experienced super nurse, lol...I also know I am going to have a LOT of questions and may even come to a crossroads of what I must do to adapt to the appropriate clinical decision making I need in critical care...will it mean I "don't have it??" I don't think so...not because of my experience, it's more based on my understanding of how we all critically think, and I will build the new knowledge and learn to make the proper decision making along with my previous skills set. It also helps that this hospital uses Benner's theory as a clinical ladder.

    As for the question, I think Benner's theory answers it pretty well...we ALL have it!!! We ALL
    need to learn how our pattern of thinking can play up our greatest strengths...like putting together puzzle pieces.
  4. 0
    Quote from GrnTea
    Should I be surprised that no one has mentioned the classic work on progress from novice to expert in this context?
    I was honestly waiting for someone to get the ball rolling on that. Just because its good to hear other nurses verbalize that theyve observed these stages in really after much discussion with nurses older and more experienced, the whole situation the occurred in that department is almost laughable. Clinical educator experience=5 years and BSN, 1 year med surg experience. Inpatient manager experience=5 years and BSN, 1-2 years med surg in the current remote hospital where I work. Net experience 10 years. Total number of hospitals worked in between both nurses=1. Doesn't take brain power to figure out the lack of leadership and guidance.
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    I think it is something to be developed - I mean schools and universities say that they try and develop it in their students, don't they?
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    Critical thinking is the ability to observe, assess, assimilate all data and see all possible solutions, then pick the best solution to the problem. It is the nursing process, problem solving, geometric theorems, different names for the same thing. The question shouldn't be do some people have it or some people don't. Anyone can learn problem solving skills. Anyone can do the steps. The question is can they do it under stress? Can they process and synthesize all the data in seconds? That is a skill honed over years of experience, but also, some are just innately better at it then others. Everyone knows the steps of the nursing process, however, not everyone utilizes them. There are those out there that just never "get it". It's a skill like any other. The more you use it, the better you become.
    proud nurse likes this.
  7. 0
    Quote from Pudnluv
    Critical thinking is the ability to observe, assess, assimilate all data and see all possible solutions, then pick the best solution to the problem. It is the nursing process, problem solving, geometric theorems, different names for the same thing. The question shouldn't be do some people have it or some people don't. Anyone can learn problem solving skills. Anyone can do the steps. The question is can they do it under stress? Can they process and synthesize all the data in seconds? That is a skill honed over years of experience, but also, some are just innately better at it then others. Everyone knows the steps of the nursing process, however, not everyone utilizes them. There are those out there that just never "get it". It's a skill like any other. The more you use it, the better you become.
    I agree with your statement that people can have more natural ability than others. And being under stress can cause roadblocks in the Information processing circuit. Consider the factors at play such as things that cause the stress to occur. Some people are more prone to stress than others and this can be made much worse without the appropriate information and education available especially with new grads. If you ask me, throwing a new grad smack in the middle of a med surg unit with zero training is totally barbaric and dangerous. I just hope they learned their lesson.
  8. 0
    This statement drives me crazy. If you watched Seasame Street as a child, you should remember the cartoon "if I pop this balloon this..." And it goes in to tell you what could happen if the balloon pops and how it will effect ppl & things. I really think critical thinking is over used .
  9. 0
    Lol--EXACTLY!!
  10. 0
    "I do believe some people are cut out to be nurses and some are not."

    I was just having this conversation today with some classmates. I think the above statement is true for many proffesions.

    As far as critical thinking, i think many people are naturally better at it than others, but some can learn, with time and experience. There are others who just aren't that great at it.


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