critical thinking examples

  1. 1
    I teach part time in a PN program. One of the objectives is critical thinking. The students always ask for an example of critical thinking. Since starting my MSN program, I realize this is a loaded question, with it being difficult to define. Does anyone have good examples of critical thinking? Here is one from the discussion posts in my class that I thought was excellent (but PN students don't do art lines):
    I responded to an over head code in the ED while working in the ICU. In the assessment portion of the nursing process in relation to code; I noticed that while the physician was inserting the arterial line a nurse zeroed it before the Dr. was done connecting it. This really makes a difference in your wave formation. At this point the blood pressure on the monitor read 60/30. Another nurse hollered to me to “open up the Dopamine!” (Which was infusing) I had also noticed that the patient and he did not appear pale and had a palpable radial pulse. I responded to that nurse “No, I am not going to open up the Dopamine. That is not his real pressure”. The Dr. responded “I know I’m in an artery”. I explained that the art line needed to be zeroed as I walked over and zeroed it. The pt.’s BP then read 132/74.
    EvelynRN-BSN likes this.

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  2. 4 Comments...

  3. 0
    Any situation where we question or figure out stuff is critical thinking. Post-op patient is tachycardic with HR 118. Nurse knows to check his bp (that alone is critical thinking). If his Bp is low, she might think, hey could he be a little shocky due to hypovlemia? and may then look at other factors like u/o, skin, labs, etc. But if his BP was high she might consider pain, fever, etc...

    Just think about the stuff you do in nursing every day.... Nursing is nothing if it's not critical thinking.... That is our main job!
  4. 1
    I agree that critical thinking should be happening all the time ... in our daily events. When I am working with students (or any nurses for that matter) and trying to help them learn to think ... I try to incorporate events that happened to them TODAY ... decisions they had to make about being a student, being a parent, being a nurse, being an employee ... whatever. That way, the example is always something that is current and fresh and important to them at the moment.

    I take their current decisions and force them to think about how/where they got information... how they prioritized ... what factors did they consider ...etc. Help them to develop critical thinking skills by "exercising" those skills in day-to-day decisions. I tell them that working their brain and learning intellectual skills is much like becoming physically fit. As you work a muscle, it becomes stronger ... and the same thing can happen with the "mental muscles." So I encourage them to develop the habit of using their intellectual muscles all the time (and not just with patient care examples) to build up those muscles and develop good intellectual habits over time.
    island40 likes this.
  5. 0
    You both have helped me to make teaching the nursing process ADPIE to new student nurses a little more interesting. I am appreciative!
  6. 0
    I guess the trouble with the examples is this: in our curriculum, there are two different anecdotes they need to do. One is correlating theory with clinical and the other is critical thinking. They are very similiar and the students have a hard time with this. So do I.


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