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What is critical thinking?
Critical thinking refers to the mental process of actively and skillfully perceiving, analyzing, synthesizing, and evaluation of collected information through observation, experience, and communication that leads to a decision for action.
During the nursing coursework, nursing students are taught various critical thinking skills and their importance in nursing practice. Some of these skills are:
- Critical analysis.
- Introductory and concluding justification.
- Valid conclusion.
- Distinguish of facts and opinions.
- Evaluation of credibility of data sources.
- Clarification of concepts.
- Recognition of conditions.
Nurses use critical thinking to make decisions and to solve the problems of patients. As a nursing student, you should develop independence of thought, fairness, perspicacity personal and social level, humility, courage, integrity, perseverance, self-confidence, an interest in research, and curiosity which will help to hone your critical thinking skills.
Implementation of critical thinking in nursing practice.
Problem-solving will help you to acquire knowledge by obtaining information explaining the nature of the problem. It also recommends the possible solution to the problem by evaluating and selecting the best without rejecting them in a possible appeal of the original.
1. Experiential method.
This method is mostly used in clinical settings with improper functioning because of incomplete tools and equipment. An example of this type of setting is home care nursing interventions.
This is the understanding of concepts without the conscious use of reasoning. Clinical experience will allow you as a nursing practitioner to recognize items and standards and approach the right conclusions.
3. Research process.
This is a systematic approach to problem-solving. Health professionals need to implement critical thinking in problem-solving by considering all possible solutions and deciding on the option which is the most appropriate solution for the case.
This is the selection of appropriate actions to achieve the desired objectives through critical thinking. Decisions should be taken when several exclusive choices are available or when there is a choice of action or not. When you face multiple needs of patients, you should set priorities and decide the order in which you will help your patients.
Contribution of critical thinking in decision making.
Critical thinking is not a phenomenon and we should all try to achieve some level of critical thinking to solve problems and make decisions successfully. Critical thinking skills can be used by a nurse when he/she faces a problem with many possible solutions. Moreover, it enables a nurse to assess the options in that situation and to make the best choice that will improve the quality of patient care.
Behaviors to enhance critical thinking in nursing practice.
- Independence of thought. Nursing students should apply critical thinking to acquire knowledge and in examining beliefs under new evidence.
- Impartiality. As a nurse, you should apply critical thinking in many ways based on evidence, personal or group biases. This allows you to account for the views of different groups of people.
- Perspicacity into social and personal factors. If you integrate critical thinking in making decisions, you accept the possibility that your personal beliefs may affect your judgment. Thus, it allows you to access your prejudices whenever you think and decide.
- Humble intellect. Humble intellect means to be aware of the limits of your own knowledge. If you apply critical thinking, you are able to acknowledge that you do not know something and that what others believe is not always true. This is because you know new evidence may emerge.
- Spiritual courage and Integrity. A nurse who applies critical thinking is able to question their knowledge and beliefs and that of others and is able to make a sound conclusion.
- Perseverance. As a nurse, you show perseverance by enduring difficult situations and being able to apply critical thinking to solve challenging problems.
- Confidence in justification. The application of critical thinking in nursing practice allows a nurse to reason and come to a reliable conclusion.
- Interest in doing research and curiosity. A nurse who integrates critical thinking in providing patient care is always eager to learn more efficient ways to provide quality patient care.
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