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Why Do New Grads Lack Critical Thinking Skills?

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by Nurse Beth Nurse Beth, MSN (Columnist)

Specializes in Med Surg, Tele, ICU, Ortho. Has 30 years experience.

New grads often lack critical thinking and it's a gap that preceptors can help with. You are reading page 2 of Why Do New Grads Lack Critical Thinking Skills?. If you want to start from the beginning Go to First Page.

anewsns

Specializes in Neurosciences, stepdown, acute rehab, LTC. Has 8 years experience.

I also always tell them to read progress notes in the morning and attend rounds. That helps them understand the plan of care holistically. 

Emergent, RN

Specializes in ER. Has 28 years experience.

4 hours ago, JKL33 said:

 

How many "rights" of medication administration are there now? Nobody knows. It is whatever someone with a personality disorder said it is; that's how many.

Brilliant!

And once these neurotics get into regulatory, they foist their two-dimensional thinking on all of us. Revenge of the Nerds I suppose.

hppygr8ful, ASN, RN, EMT-I

Specializes in Psych, Addictions, SOL (Student of Life). Has 19 years experience.

This because they have been coddled their whole lives and never taught how to look at and attack a compplex problems.

Hppy

Emergent, RN

Specializes in ER. Has 28 years experience.

A lot of young people have grown up in a pressure cooker. The millennial generation has had challenges that my generation definitely didn't. I think it's a generalization to paint all younger people with the same brush.

Every generation grew up with a unique set of pressures. We cannot say one is worse than the other or that one generation had it easier. What I can say is that there is a parenting style adopted by many that tends to focus on doing the best they can to make sure their kids do not have to suffer adversity of any kind. We are seeing that in many of our new grads who seem to collapse under any pressure of any kind. Even the slightest bump in the road leaves them floundering and looking for someone else to point the finger at because failure is not an option.  We see it in the constant accusations of NETY/bullying for the most banal reasons. I blame my generation for this. We’re the ones that raised them to be this way. It seems the chickens have come home to roost. 

21 hours ago, Susie2310 said:

I find the attitude that "Things aren't going to change anytime soon" very defeatist and problematic, when people with the power to make changes exist.  Is this passivity due to comfort with the status quo?  I'd like to hear more about why changes can't happen in a reasonable time period.

What are you thinking could happen? We are a struggling profession largely regarded as a blue collar role. We are a profession with our own knowledge and ethics largely employed by employers looking for "workers."

Educational institutions want to make money flooding the market with more of us. They don't seem to have an interest in providing true high-quality education and there are no forces holding them to task on that. In fact the standards are so low that dubious entities have been able to get in on the nursing education action. If the program stinks, no problem, just curate board pass rates by making people pass an exit exam at the very end of the program as a condition of graduation/authorization to test (after their tuition dollars have been collected). Things like this happen not just in mail-order degree programs but even well-regarded and sometimes prestigious universities.

Employers, for their part, are happy to have nurses pumped out at top speed. They appear to have calculated that running their floors and units with mostly new grads does not compromise their business interests. So...not sure why they would want to spend money to help new nurses form a more solid foundation. They have shown time and again that they would rather spend money fooling the public than strengthening nurses.

Nurse Beth, MSN

Specializes in Med Surg, Tele, ICU, Ortho. Has 30 years experience.

22 hours ago, Susie2310 said:

I find the attitude that "Things aren't going to change anytime soon" very defeatist and problematic, when people with the power to make changes exist.  Is this passivity due to comfort with the status quo?  I'd like to hear more about why changes can't happen in a reasonable time period.

 

Most people who know me don't call me passive, LOL. On the contrary.

If I were to say "Things are going to change soon!"... I would have nothing to back up that statement, and wouldn't consider it responsible writing.

Susie2310, I'd like to hear how you believe nursing education can realistically change for the better in the near future, because I certainly see no signs of that happening. 

also- personal favor- would you kindly edit your post to make the quoted portion smaller?

 

anewsns

Specializes in Neurosciences, stepdown, acute rehab, LTC. Has 8 years experience.

1 hour ago, Nurse Beth said:

Most people who know me don't call me passive, LOL. On the contrary.

If I were to say "Things are going to change soon!"... I would have nothing to back up that statement, and wouldn't consider it responsible writing.

Susie2310, I'd like to hear how you believe nursing education can realistically change for the better in the near future, because I certainly see no signs of that happening. 

also- personal favor- would you kindly edit your post to make the quoted portion smaller?

 

Yes, there is no real reason to believe REAL change will happen soon. We can still push to make a difference, even if it takes decades to see the results. Im also not comfortable with the status quo of this profession AT ALL! I just don't see quick ways out of our issues. 

 

1 hour ago, JKL33 said:

What are you thinking could happen? We are a struggling profession largely regarded as a blue collar role. We are a profession with our own knowledge and ethics largely employed by employers looking for "workers."

Yep. It's like treated as a blue collar role with the expectation that we have white collar mindset. I agree with the sentiment of elevating our profession but the way we are doing it kind of sucks. We are pushed to get our bachelors for these bedside positions, then are treated poorly at bedside so get the degree and then leave. The change needs to happen in the government and in organizations, which are forces that are difficult to change quickly. 

Edited by anewsns

Emergent, RN

Specializes in ER. Has 28 years experience.

There are so many snot-nosed, whiney, entitled baby-boomers, it's unreal. Yep, my generation. 

I know all 6 of my adult offspring stand on their own 2 feet very well. I wasn't a smother-mother at all, but could get a little fierce at times if someone messed with us. It worked out. 

4 hours ago, Nurse Beth said:

Most people who know me don't call me passive, LOL. On the contrary.

If I were to say "Things are going to change soon!"... I would have nothing to back up that statement, and wouldn't consider it responsible writing.

Susie2310, I'd like to hear how you believe nursing education can realistically change for the better in the near future, because I certainly see no signs of that happening. 

also- personal favor- would you kindly edit your post to make the quoted portion smaller?

 

Please correct me if I am wrong, but my understanding is that you work in staff education/development.  In your OP you are asking for preceptor solutions to the difficulties that new grad nurses have with critical thinking.  In my reply to you I did provide suggestions for nursing education, I.e. that nursing education as a whole is reviewed, and I provided examples of the nursing education/training that I experienced.  Since apparently the examples I gave were not clear enough, I will say that I would propose that the models of nursing education that incorporated education and clinical experience similar to which I described and which produced new graduates who were/are ready to begin practice as well prepared novice nurses, are evaluated along with the models being currently used, with the goal of producing new graduate nurses who are well prepared to begin practice as novice nurses.

Since the model I am referring to did/does produce new graduates who are prepared to begin clinical practice as novice nurses, my suggestion would be to re-introduce that model again.  Is there a reason that this situation cannot be studied with a view to making changes where needed?  I commented, words to the effect, that I am not aware of any reviews taking place along these lines; is this a topic that you would care to share your opinion on - again, please correct me if I am wrong, but I perceived that you would be qualified to comment on this topic as I understand you are an education specialist.  I will willingly admit that I am ignorant of any reviews that are taking place, and I would be pleased to learn of any reviews that are ongoing. 

My reason for characterizing your attitude as passive is that you are asking for preceptor solutions to the problem of new grad nurses not being able to think critically, but did not in your OP address the larger problem, which in my view is the preparation of student nurses to practice nursing.  As I see it, that is akin to treating the symptoms but not looking for the cause of the disease in order to eradicate the problem.  One definition of passive, according to Merriam Webster dictionary, is "to receive or endure without resistance:"  If I recall correctly, you commented that:  "There's nothing that can be done . . ." or similar.  To be characterized as passive is not an insult; it is simply how I understood your attitude.  No, of course I would not expect you to say:  "Things are going to change soon"; no-one would expect such a simplistic answer, but, in my view, acknowledging and addressing the larger problem of the preparation of student nurses to practice nursing would be appropriate and useful.  Do you see any problems with the preparation of student nurses to practice nursing?  Do you think it would be beneficial for models of nursing education to be reviewed in relation to students ability to practice as new graduate nurses?  Or do you think everything should be left well alone?  Again, you are asking for preceptor solutions to the problem of new graduate nurses having difficulties thinking critically; my point is that I believe the whole problem has not been identified.

In regard to your request for me to edit my post in order to make the quoted portion smaller; I must respectfully tell you that I decline to do this as I wished to include your quote in full.  I apologize if you find it inconvenient to scroll down.

 

Nurse Beth, MSN

Specializes in Med Surg, Tele, ICU, Ortho. Has 30 years experience.

On 8/21/2021 at 5:25 PM, Susie2310 said:

Since the model I am referring to did/does produce new graduates who are prepared to begin clinical practice as novice nurses, my suggestion would be to re-introduce that model again.  Is there a reason that this situation cannot be studied with a view to making changes where needed?  I commented, words to the effect, that I am not aware of any reviews taking place along these lines

We agree that there's a gap between education and practice, definitely and unfortunately.

There are many scholarly articles and studies out there about many aspects of nursing education.

I don't see nursing education changing for the better any time soon for the reasons another reader listed, but daily in my role, I love helping preceptors and new nurses grow and develop.

Salesforce, CNA, LVN

Has 5 years experience.

49 minutes ago, Nurse Beth said:

We agree that there's a gap between education and practice, definitely and unfortunately.

There are many scholarly articles and studies out there about many aspects of nursing education.

I don't see nursing education changing for the better any time soon for the reasons another reader listed, but daily in my role, I love helping preceptors and new nurses grow and develop.

We appreciate you. One of a kind Nurse Beth 🙂