Critical thinking is like this example I gave in another thread.
Like - example here. Simpliest example I can think of.
A person has bronchitis - severe enough to be put in the hospital. Well how are healthy lungs going to work? Thats the first step in the process. When you know that gas exchange down in the little alveoli is what really matters then the gunk that builds up in the lining of someone with bronchitis gets then you realize that the gas is not going to properly exchage.
You must realize (by breaking down the word - Bronchitis) that it is an infection of the lung. What do you see with infections? Usually anyway? A fever - irritation/redness. How do you fix an infection? Depends on the TYPE of infection (bacterial/viral/fungal etc), must do a smear of the gunk coughed up. Then they gram stain it and you get results and vualla? IE antibiotic prescribed (or not if it's viral of course)
But then you must deal with the symptoms too. You must get rid of the gunk. How do you get rid of thick slimy gunk? Well - you need to thin the gunk of course - so that you can make it easier to cough out. How do you thin the gunk? Well - what is the gunk? Mucus. How do you thin mucus? Mucolytic
My biggest suggestion for ANYONE in nursing school
is don't just READ about a disease process, understand it as if it were one of your parents who have the disease. Read everything you can on it.
Understand the body - and how it works is the first step. If you understand how it's supposed to work then when something goes wrong - everything will fall into place.