Resources for Nurse Educators/ Strategies to Enhance Critical Thinking


So much content... so little time :banghead: What active teaching/ learning strategies have you found effective in the classroom to encourage critical thinking in our future nurses?


11 Posts

Concept mapping, web/mind maps. In groups of 4-5 students assign various aspects of the course; students use markers and post-its to write a concept on post-it, place on board. They can move the post-its around. They can add arms/legs with additional information. They can use directional arrows. During yesterday's class, a student said that she realized the impact the concept map had on her learning. She thought that it was busy work. The students were busily writing down information from the maps. I'll be able to measure the effect of concept mapping from the unit test (possibly).

Inspiration offers a 30 day free trial on concept mapping using different templates.



14 Posts

As a nursing student, I found the concept approach that Teach1 mentioned to be very helpful.

Many students are cognitive learners, as opposed to verbal learners, and right brained, thus needing to look at a situation from a very different pov as the left brained. Critical thinking involves much more right brained activity, and can be stimulated by music, art, poetry etc.

I also found it helpful to have a sense of, well, balance in learning critical thinking; for example learning ABCs, prioritization and pathophysiology at the same time.

Situational learning was a wonderful learning tool, particularly during the final semester, a kind of what would you do and why scenerio which allowed brainstorming without fear of criticism. One very simple example that seems silly now: during management we were given a situation:

your neighbors' husband is c/o cp after cutting the grass and she asks for your. What do you do? My answer: have him sit still, take an aspirin and call 911. Wrong answer my instructor says, you are practicing medicine w/o a liscense. What?! I don't get it. If I don't do what I know to be the standard of care, won't I be liable? This simple discussion went on for 40 minutes, but the lessons learned were very important to us then.

I may be inappropriate to reply at all, as I have never taught nursing, but I did teach 1st grade for several years before going to nursing school, so please forgive my impetuousness in replying.

God Bless the teachers, I do not envy you your task! Keep up the good work!


105 Articles; 5,349 Posts

Specializes in Gerontological, cardiac, med-surg, peds. Has 16 years experience.

The purpose of the Think Bank is to share and explore teaching/learning strategies and techniques that promote critical and creative thinking in the community college classroom. The Think Bank, housed at El Paso Community College, features web resources for instructors to use in sharpening their own critical and creative thinking skills and in teaching these skills to students. As these resources contain information applicable to any field or discipline, instructors are urged to review as many of the resources as possible and then to try relevant strategies in their own classrooms. Instructors will notice some repetition of information from one resource to another; this overlap demonstrates the unity among the core concepts and how they are applicable to all teaching approaches.

This module is intended to serve as a one-stop shop for critical and creative thinking, a site where faculty searching for ways to teach these skills can find ideas from instructors in several disciplines. It provides links to El Paso CC's Think Bank website as well as other important sites in the areas of critical and creative thinking.


105 Articles; 5,349 Posts

Specializes in Gerontological, cardiac, med-surg, peds. Has 16 years experience.

Nursing students are adult learners and need to be taught in a manner that is appealing to adults. Malcolm Knowles is the father of Andragogy--the art and practice of helping adults learn. Investigate the differences between andragogy and pedagogy at the following sites:

Ageless Learner website: "How Adults Learn"

Clearinghouse on Adult, Career, and Vocational Education

Adult/ Continuing Education


105 Articles; 5,349 Posts

Specializes in Gerontological, cardiac, med-surg, peds. Has 16 years experience.

Some excellent resources:

How To Foster Classroom Interaction

Active Learning: Creating Excitement in the Classroom

The modification of traditional lectures is one way to incorporate active learning in the classroom. Research has demonstrated, for example, that if a faculty member allows students to consolidate their notes by pausing three times for two minutes each during a lecture, students will learn significantly more information. Two other simple yet effective ways to involve students during a lecture are to insert brief demonstrations or short, ungraded writing exercises followed by class discussion.

Adult Multiple Intelligences and Multiple-Intelligence-Based Classroom Instruction


27 Posts

Specializes in critical care. Has 20 years experience.

Thanks for your tips on critical thinking. I just attended a critical thinking workshop and the things you suggested were exactly what was talked about in the workshop. Many of the clinical instructors are using the concept maps to replace careplans, and instead of the hours of grading careplans, are going over the concept maps individually with students to find out where their thinking is. Some give letter grades, but many were pass/fail. Excellent suggestions, thanks for the tips.


105 Articles; 5,349 Posts

Specializes in Gerontological, cardiac, med-surg, peds. Has 16 years experience.

Crossword and other puzzle makers (some of which are free):

Even though the crossword puzzle is a bit "elementary," I have used this free puzzlemaker to make fun, relatively-quick learning-reinforcement exercises. The students seem to enjoy them.

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