Critical Thinking in Nursing: What Directly Affects the Patient

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Critical thinking in nursing is another important quality needed.In this essay we define critical thinking as the “cognitive process that includes rational analysis of information to facilitate clinical reasoning, judgment and decision‐making”. Critical thinking is comprised of five main components which are used in the nursing process. The components are: specific knowledge base, experience, competencies, attitudes and standards.

The importance of critical thinking in the nursing profession is that it also directly affects a patient’s care since the profession requires you to both independently and collaboratively make decisions that you are accountable for to best care for a patient needs and wants. The study “Critical thinking in nursing: Scoping review of the literature” aimed to determine the current state of critical thinking in nursing. However, the study found that knowledge of critical thinking is currently only been conceptualized and adapted in the theoretical sense and lacks adaption to the real world, in terms of the clinical environment. The study suggests critical thinking to be further researched so that ways of evaluations and models to attain critical thinking can be specific towards the profession of nursing. This will allow better patient care and safety in the future.

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The Role of Critical Thinking Skills in Nursing Profession

According to Cortell 'Critical thinking includes the complex process of deliberation which involves a wide range of skills and attitudes'. The way critical thinking skills is utilised is dependent by an individual’s academic experiences, therefore critical thinking is interpreted differently by each individual. Critical thinking has proven to be beneficial in nursing, helping individuals improve their decision making skills which in turn promotes self-development and discipline in the working environment. Sternberg and Browne and Freeman believe critical thinking should be a partnership between teacher and student and requires full participation from the student for it to be effective which questions the reliability of using such a skill. Developing critical thinking can improve an individual’s ability to use strategic methods in evaluating information and using the information acquired in problem solving.

In the nursing workplace nurses are require to constantly to make decisions in a fast paced working environment, critical thinking is essential for an efficient nursing intervention. Critical thinking involves an individual taking a step back from an event, weighing in a variety of factors and having the ability to ask the right questions about what decisions needs to the made. This builds a confusion around critical thinking due to the fact that when faced with certain problems participants are required to ask the right questions and assess certain situations correctly. Critical thinking in nursing promotes a spirit of inquiry, logical reasoning and application of standards in nursing, this shows that critical thinking is an essential skill that should be honed in new and existing nurses.

Critical thinking requires the participant to develop certain attitudes and characteristics such as fairness, impartiality, humble intellect, integrity, courage and perseverance so as to effectively implement critical thinking. Even though critical thinking has proven beneficial, the scepticism around its utilisation has not been fully eliminated in the nursing workplace as the implementation of critical thinking during high pressure situations can lead to further confusion due to incomplete information. When used appropriately and with the complete information present critical thinking can allow a participant to identify the relevant information and use this information to maximise results.

Moon believes that organisation, reasoning effectively, being precise and working reflectively are important when considering critical thinking but this appears to revolve around the ‘Standards’ of the participant showing that the attributes of critical thinking is interpreted differently by each participant. Moon goes on to state that critical thinking is affected by the characteristics of the participant through their emotions, language and their level of intellectual curiosity. This goes on to show that different participants would reach different conclusions even if they use critical thinking in the same incident. Moon goes on to suggest that culture should be taken into consideration as critical thinking a has been viewed as a western way of getting results making it difficult for people from other cultures to utilise critical thinking as they have been taught a different format of thinking . It comes to say that critical thinking can prove to very technical and unique in its implementation, as different factors affects its use

In conclusion, critical thinking has proven to be an essential skills in the work place when implemented incorrectly it could be detrimental and can limit the effects on the person involved. Training and a high level of commitment is required for this skill to be applied successfully in an academic setting. 

References

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