What is critical thinking in nursing

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What is critical thinking in nursing

What is critical thinking in nursing? Critical thinking in nursing refers to nurses who are able to approach clinical situations with a logical, systematic thought process. It refers to the use of reasoning and judgment skills that allow for appropriate assessment and decision-making. Nurses critically analyze current evidence in nursing research to determine which concepts are supported by the literature, what the limitations may be, and how those findings can advance professional nursing practice.

Nurses must be able to evaluate the quality of care provided by other healthcare providers so they can provide safe treatment plans based upon best practices. This requires critical thinking skills. Critical thinking is also used when assessing patients’ responses to medications, procedures or therapies so that nurses can adjust them as needed for each patient’s unique needs (Greiner & Davis-Floyd, 2012).

Critical thinking is especially important in the decision-making process. Nurses are often faced with making decisions about patients’ care that have not been addressed in clinical guidelines or protocols. Critical thinking allows nurses to analyze the situation thoroughly, consider all available information and make an informed choice (Gordon, 2016).

Critical thinking is also very important when nurses need to solve complex problems involving prioritizing competing tasks or goals. For example, several family members may disagree about how best to care for their mother who has dementia and is unable to communicate her wishes. A nurse can assist these families by leading them through a decision-making process that helps them focus on what matters most to their loved ones (Whitney & Gordon, 2015). Critical thinking also involves recognizing the problem, collecting information, generating possible solutions, and making a decision using what is known about the situation (Nieswiadomy, 2013).

An important aspect of critical thinking is the ability to effectively communicate. In fact, communication skills are considered vital elements of critical thinking as well as an integral part of good nursing care (Martin-Herring & Beverly, 2010). The use of clear communication helps ensure that nurses’ ideas and decisions are understood by other healthcare professionals who may be treating the same patient. Critical thinking allows nurses to evaluate their choices objectively and understand how those choices may affect others. Nursing research suggests that effective communication requires a strong focus on caring for patients as well as being able to negotiate relationships that facilitate collaboration within teams or between healthcare agencies (Gorden, 2016).

Critical thinking is an important component of reflective practice. Reflective practice allows nurses to analyze and interpret patients’ experiences as well as their own responses to those experiences (Nieswiadomy, 2013). Nurses must be able to go beyond just the facts and events of a situation in order to fully understand what has happened and how it affects those involved. This requires being able to use critical thinking skills in evaluating information, making choices about actions based upon that information, recognizing one’s own feelings about the situation, and being open to considering other points of view (Gordon, 2016).

Critical thinking also involves using one’s creativity in order to generate new ideas or solutions that may not have been considered otherwise. Nurses who are able to think critically, creatively, and effectively will be better prepared to meet the changing healthcare needs of society (Gorden, 2016).

Critical thinking is a complex process that requires time and effort to develop good thinking habits. Critical thinking requires motivation and emotional commitment in order to generate new ideas or solve problems. It occurs when nurses examine situations closely, consider all available information and make decisions using sound judgment (Gordon, 2016).

Critical thinking is always important in nursing no matter what the situation. It can be especially valuable when nurses are faced with difficult choices or challenges that need to be overcome to provide good patient care. Critical thinking allows nurses to feel empowered by their ability to act decisively while still remaining open-minded and flexible (Gorden, 2016).

Nursing research suggests that critical thinking skills can be improved through training programs that include both didactic instruction as well as real-life simulations so that nurses have opportunities to practice these skills in a safe environment before applying them in practical settings. Nurses may also their critical thinking skills gradually over time.

Importance of Critical Thinking in Nursing

Critical thinking enhances decision-making and problem-solving. It allows nurses to take a systematic approach to the analysis of problems while remaining open-minded about alternative solutions. Critical thinking occurs when nurses use their feelings as well as cold, hard facts in order to make decisions that are both effective and efficient (Gordon, 2016).

In Nursing school, I learned to analyze problems from many different perspectives in order to develop multiple treatment options. In nursing practice, critical thinking skills allow me to make the best possible choices for my patients based upon what is known about their situation and how they will likely respond. I try not only to understand each patient’s specific needs but also to anticipate their responses before any issues arise so that I can work proactively rather than reactively with each patient (Gordon, 2016).

Critical thinking affects the quality of nursing care that patients receive. It allows nurses to make better decisions and solve problems more efficiently. It also increases accountability by encouraging nurses to reflect upon the accuracy and appropriateness of their actions (Gorden, 2016).

Tools for Critical Thinking in Nursing

Through my work in trauma nursing, I have learned a lot about critical thinking in a short amount of time. The public health emergency preparedness drills we conduct in my department require me to think critically about how I will allocate resources in order to treat a large number of casualties effectively while maintaining an efficient workflow during chaotic situations. These drills help me practice using critical thinking skills in high-stress settings where mistakes cannot be tolerated. I have developed critical thinking skills that help me to prioritize tasks, remain calm during crises, and anticipate patient responses before they happen so that I can provide the best possible care.

I know that critical thinking will play an important part in my career as a trauma nurse. Critical thinking allows nurses to make better choices every day about how they respond to their patients based on cold, hard facts rather than what they believe might be true or what feels right intuitively (Gordon, 2016).

Critical Thinking is very important in nursing because it helps nurses to make good decisions under pressure without allowing emotions to cloud sound judgment. It also provides accountability for one’s actions by ensuring that every choice made is thoroughly considered beforehand (Gorden, 2016).

References: Gorden, L. (2016). Critical thinking: A nursing imperative. Nursing2016, 46(8), 34-35 http://www.nursing2016.com/article/critical-thinking-a-nursing-imperative/

Gordon, G. (2016). The skills of critical thinking and problem-solving are essential for nurses today and into the future. Family Nurse Practitioner Forum, 37(4), 8-13

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