The Improvement of Critical Thinking in Nursing Practice
There could not be found a skill more important than critical thinking in the medical profession. It appears to be a vital element of any competence regardless of the specific domain of health knowledge. It determines health professionals’ abilities in providing adequate help and ultimately defines the quality of their performance and patient care outcomes (Papp et al., 2014). In recent years, the demand for critical reasoning capability has increased due to the progress in biomedical science and technology. The necessary improvement can be made by prioritizing critical thinking in the training process and providing the students with tools to develop this ability during everyday life activities. Therefore, critical thinking should be viewed as an essential capacity ensuring medical treatment efficiency.
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Critical Thinking in the Clinical Setting
Critical thinking relates to the processes of perception, evaluation, and analysis of relevant information. Regarding nursing practice, critical thinking skills involve collecting valid information, distinguishing facts from opinions, evaluating the credibility of information sources, and drawing clinical conclusions. There are specific behaviors that can enable the enhancement of critical thinking. Nursing students should develop “independence of thought, fairness, perspicacity in personal and social level, humility, spiritual courage, integrity, perseverance, self-confidence, interest for research and curiosity” (Papathanasiou, Kleisiaris, Fradelos, Kakou, & Kourkouta, 2014, p. 283). I believe these features could be valuable when resolving everyday problems as well. However, there are different levels of personal and professional responsibility.
In clinical settings, nurses have to apply critical thinking to provide adequate medical treatment to patients. The patients’ lives and well-being often depend on the nurses’ ability to come to sound clinical judgments based on informed opinions and empirical knowledge. When a nurse exercises critical reasoning in his or her ordinary life, the responsibility usually shifts to the well-being of just one person. As for me, I consider my critical thinking skills sufficiently developed to solve my problems quite successfully. At the same time, in a complex clinical environment with various nuances to take into account, I often feel like a novice. Therefore, I firmly believe that my critical reasoning development should be continued further during any activities. As a future health professional, I understand that the outcomes of patient treatment entirely depend on my ability to mobilize the best of my skills.
Papathanasiou, I. V., Kleisiaris, C. F., Fradelos, E. C., Kakou, K., & Kourkouta, L. (2014). Critical thinking: The development of an essential skill for nursing students. Acta Informatica Medica, 22(4), 283-286. doi:10.5455/aim.2014.22.283-286
Papp, K. K., Huang, G. C., Lauzon Clabo, L. M., Delva, D., Fischer, M., Konopasek, L.,… Gusic, M. (2014). Milestones of critical thinking: A developmental model for medicine and nursing. Academic Medicine, 89(5), p. 715-720. doi:10.1097/ACM.0000000000000220