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Critical Thinking Article Review

Essay by   •  November 18, 2010  •  Article Review  •  1,151 Words (5 Pages)  •  1,415 Views

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Critical Thinking Article Review

Over the last thirty years, the health care system has incurred dramatic changes, resulting in new advances in technology and medical theories. Greater demand for quality care by consumers, more knowledgeable patients, remarkable disease processes, shorter hospitalizations, and the continuing pressure to lower health care costs are all contributing factors in the necessary changes to the nursing practice. In order for nurses to deliver optimum care, they must develop a higher quality of thinking capability. We will review the information given in this research paper to discuss the impact of critical thinking in the nursing profession, as well as the various strategies / techniques used in assisting nursing educators to develop and train nurses in critical thinking.

Knowles (cited in Simpson & Courtney, 2002) states that "facts learned in youth have become insufficient and in many instances actually untrue; skills learned in youth have become outmoded by new technologies." As nurses, we are constantly evolving in response to the vast changes in health care. We must continue to educate ourselves and acquire new skills. Nurses are responsible for providing safe and effective care.

Nurses collect and assess patient information to help formulate the best plan of care for patients daily. Fowler (cited in Simpson & Courtney, 2002) states "practicing nurses and nurse educators concur that the increasing complexity of modern health-care demands critical thinking." As stated by Alfaro-LeFevre (cited in Simpson & Courtney, 2002) "critical thinking belongs in nursing because nursing is concerned with purposeful goal-directed thinking, with the primary aim of making judgments grounded on factual evidence rather than conjecture." The benefit of nurses developing sharper skills in critical thinking also impacts quality improvement. Quality improvement teams within the health care system identify problems that may be contributing factors to ineffective patient care. As nurses, we play an important role in helping to identify and correct problems that have a negative impact on patient care. Critical thinking is a necessary pathway in improving the quality of patient care.

The health care system will continue to change and expand on its' newfound technologies. Consequently, the nursing practice must continue to evolve as well. Critical thinking is a necessary tool for helping to guide nurses in making clinical decisions.

Four components of critical thinking are recognizing assumptions; being aware of how assumptions shape perceptions; being able to think of and explore alternatives; and reflective uncertainty. According to Simpson and Courtney (2002), individuals who are critical thinkers become skeptical of claims to universal truths or to ultimate explanations and do not take things for granted or as real.

According to Chitty, critical thinking includes cognitive skills - analyzing, applying standards, discriminating, information seeking, logical reasoning, predicting, and transforming knowledge (chapter 15, p. 390). Personal dispositions also play a role in critical thinking.

Critical thinking is a relatively new concept in nursing education. The National League of Nursing mandates that nursing programs measure critical thinking as outcome criteria for accreditation. Critical thinking can be confused with other components similar to critical thinking - problem solving, clinical decision-making, and creative thinking, but having different meanings.

Problem solving is defined as a method of finding solutions to difficulties specific to a given situation and designed for immediate action (Simpson & Courtney, 2002). Simpson and Courtney (2002) state "an important step in problem solving and decision-making is the need to utilize critical-thinking abilities to reframe a problem or situation." Critical thinking involves questioning all the features of a situation and analyzing solutions.

The meaning of clinical decision-making is a systematic process of assessment of a range of actions, evaluation and decision-making that will be a factor of a desired outcome (Simpson & Courtney, 2002). Simpson and Courtney (2002) state "incorporating critical thinking skills during the clinical decision-making process will provide clarification, a range of potential solutions appropriate to the circumstances or setting and reasoning to support the clinical decision made."

Creative thinking is described as being intuitive, being creative and visual; and discovering new ideas. Creative thinking asks questions such as why? What if? What else? In creative thinking, a person can envision potential ideas and alternatives as an approach to problem solving. According to Simpson and Courtney (2002),

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