Critical thinking

Nurses General Nursing


I completed my first day of an RN diploma program today. This school is considered one of the best in the region, with 100% of the students over the past five semesters passing the NCLEX on the first try. The first semster is composed of Nursing Fundamentals, which I can understand the relevancy, and Critical Thinking. Their definition of critical thinking is "a purposeful, outcome oriented, cognitive process that aims to make judgments based on fact and beliefs." Is this type of class typical of all nursing programs these days? When I spoke to my mother, who has been a nurse for over 20 years, she had never heard of the concept. But when I attempted to explain it, she felt this was a great way of approaching nursing.


35 Posts

Hi there, I graduated last May from an Associate Degree program. Although we did not have a separate class devoted to "critical thinking," that did seem to be a buzzword throughout school and even now in the hospital where I work.

I had never heard the term before I started nursing school. My name for it is COMMON SENSE! But that is not quite as fancy ;)

Good luck in school! It will be over before you know it!

Specializes in Trauma acute surgery, surgical ICU, PACU.

I was educated this way, and to me, it's the ONLY way to think about nursing. It might help if (on your own - don't do this around your instructors) you could put all the fancy terminology into your own words. Because this approach to nursing is just a way to get away from the idea of nurses as task-performing automatons and focus on thinking about WHY you do stuff. Why bother doing something if you don't think about what benefit, what "outcome" it will have?

Because, really, nurses always had the intelligence to think about what they were doing. But you can't say that of nurses as a group untill you formalize it into the education. It's part of making nursing more professional, in our own eyes and in the eyes of others. :cool:


1,041 Posts

This sounds like an interesting class. It's important to develop the skill of critical thining, or, at least introduce and cover the topic of critical thinking at the foundation point. Perhaps nursing students began to expect "slot and groove" type positions where thinking is removed. If a person doesn't think very much, or doesn't know how to think, then you place them in a thinking situation, it could be difficult. Thinking is a skill I hope to never become complacent with.


124 Posts

Hi Tapper, What this course has done is put into words exactly what we do everyday, logically organized your thinking process!


7 Posts

Critical thinking skills ought to have been part and parcel of a person's education from the get-go. There's no question that it is essential for a nurse to have excellent critical thinking skills.

I'm just wondering though...if a person hasn't learned these skills by the time they get to nursing school, it is possible? We didn't have a class in it, but our instructors emphasized it from day 1 in nursing school. They just didn't have a fancy name for it.


455 Posts

Here is a link that might be of interest to further explain critical thinking and why it is important in nursing.



657 Posts

i think that we are trained to think in a specific way, order, throughout nursing school. ok...mind control, aka critical thinking.

ok, maybe im exaggerating a little bit but i do believe we think differently than most people and i do believe we are trained that way (nursing care plans)

here is an example of what i mean spilling over to our "normal" life.


i used to love going to walmart with my fiancee. i could browse the day away. i now get aggitated when we shop because he stops to look at every little thing that is

if i am looking for say a birthday gift, i want to go right to the department and look. i dont want to stop and look at drills, or new electric gadgets. i get angry because its not in my plan and i dont have the time. BUT I DO HAVE THE TIME...not in a hurry, nothing else to do...i just unconsciously devise and carry out a plan TO SHOP FOR GOODNESS SAKE! it took me a while to understand why i was getting so frustrated shopping. (problem, expected outcome, interventions, met or unmet goal) but now that i understand it i can stop myself from doing it.

i guess what i am trying to say is that i find myself likening everything to a care plan. im not setting out to do that, it just happens.

i disagree that critical thinking is common sense. its more than that. its being able to see a whole picture, pick it apart and put it back together. QUICKLY! its finding the black and white inside the grey.

does anyone understand me?


if im not making any sense its because i am working 12's at night and still havent slept.

(no sleep related to shift work; nurse will get at least 8 hours sleep before next shift: get off computer, darken room, put something boring on tv, go to bed, fall asleep)

ill tell you later if the goal was met or


whatever it is now



499 Posts

Critical thinking is the essence of the nursing process. It has recently been given this name, but it is the core of what we do. Ideally, this class will provide a strong base on which to build your knowledge and practice. Good luck to you.

My name for it is COMMON SENSE! But that is not quite as fancy

ITA! I heard it through out nursing school, but it's not really something you can learn seperate. It's more puttin' it all together at once, on your feet. It will come as second nature and unconciously. Almost like a sixth sense.;)


1,301 Posts

Hi. Could this be the new evidence-based system that's been abuzz lately?

Specializes in Trauma acute surgery, surgical ICU, PACU.
Originally posted by Mijourney

Hi. Could this be the new evidence-based system that's been abuzz lately?

NEW? didn't the concept of evidence based nursing start with florence? :)

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