Critical Thinking in Nursing

  1. i am a new student just starting out in my rn program. while i do not have any firsthand experience as an rn, i have worked as a nursing assistant and currently work as a monitor tech/unit secretary, engaged to an rn, most of our friends are rns. so i think that i have had the opportunity to live vicariously through my friends and all those who i surround myself with.

    i am of the opinion that prior to everyone becoming an rn and taking on any position in the healthcare field, they need to develop some critical thinking skills. it is especially important to develop critical thinking skills to be a successful rn. to think like an rn means as nursing students we need to equip ourselves with a variety of skills which we must be ready to employ from our toolkit of skills we will be taking with us to work each and every day. while in school we need to develop the ideas, and theory of nursing in addition to learning the content of nursing both from a practical as well as theoretical perspective. this should allow us as we go into the work force be self directed and critical thinkers -all skills needed to function in my estimation on a base level in nursing.

    after all, the rn should be competent in his/her area of nursing to be able to make judgment calls and work in harmony with all other members of the healthcare community. an rn must be able to critically evaluate situations so that this information can be passed on to the physician who may or may not know what is going on with a particular patient. i always see physicians getting information on a patient from the rn and if the rn cannot think critically, the best care may not be given to the patient.

    so i think the critical thinking skills for sound reasoning and judgment need to be developed prior to entry into the workforce.

    let me know what you think of thought.

    thank you.
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    Joined: Jun '09; Posts: 1

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  3. by   Daytonite
    this is an example of critical thinking that shows how a real world problem and its solution can be compared with the nursing process which is the critical thinking skill you will learn in nursing school:
    you are driving along and suddenly you hear a bang, you start having trouble controlling your car's direction and it's hard to keep your hands on the steering wheel. you pull over to the side of the road. "what's wrong?" you're thinking. you look over the dashboard and none of the warning lights are blinking. you decide to get out of the car and take a look at the outside of the vehicle. you start walking around it. then, you see it. a huge nail is sticking out of one of the rear tires and the tire is noticeably deflated. what you have just done is step #1 of the nursing process--performed an assessment. you determine that you have a flat tire. you have just done step #2 of the nursing process--made a diagnosis. the little squirrel starts running like crazy in the wheel up in your brain. "what do i do?" you are thinking. you could call aaa. no, you can save the money and do it yourself. you can replace the tire by changing out the flat one with the spare in the trunk. good thing you took that class in how to do simple maintenance and repairs on a car! you have just done step #3 of the nursing process--planning (developed a goal and intervention). you get the jack and spare tire out of the trunk, roll up your sleeves and get to work. you have just done step #4 of the nursing process--implementation of the plan. after the new tire is installed you put the flat one in the trunk along with the jack, dust yourself off, take a long drink of that bottle of water you had with you and prepare to drive off. you begin slowly to test the feel as you drive. good. everything seems fine. the spare tire seems to be ok and off you go and on your way. you have just done step #5 of the nursing process--evaluation (determined if your goal was met).
    critical thinking is purposeful, reflective and goal directed thinking where you make judgments based on evidence rather than guessing. it is based on the principles of science and the scientific method. in nursing we use the nursing process to help us with our critical thinking. see http://home.cogeco.ca/~nursingprocess/index.htm

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