Translate this page from English Print Page Change Text Size: What makes the thinking of a nurse different from a doctor, a dentist or an engineer? It is how we view the client and the type of problems we deal with in practice when we engage in client care.
Critical Thinking Nursing students begin to hear about critical thinking skills early in nursing school.
But what is critical thinking and why does it matter? How does it play out in real life? Cody proposes that the teaching of nursing theory instead of generic nursing diagnoses and interventions are a better way to enhance critical thinking for nurses, since nursing theory is unique to the nursing discipline.
Certainly a new nurse learns how to think and process data by consulting others more experienced on the health care team which supports the idea of critical thinking as a relational process. However, there is an individual cognitive process of clinical reasoning and analytical skills that must be develop in nursing students early on.
Perhaps critical thinking has become just a buzzword in nursing, but the reality of the concept remains vital to excellent patient care, as in the following real life example. One example of where I had to use critical thinking in my nursing career occurred when I was working During report I was told I would be taking over care for a 22 year old new admission that had just arrived on the floor a few hours ago from ER.
In report, the day shift nurse expressed extremely frustration with the ER and the physician who was responsible for caring for this young patient. Apparently the patient was extremely sick.
The day shift nurse had still received no orders for her from the physician several hours after her admission to the floor. In fact the physician had still not seen the patient despite multiple calls from the day shift RN.
Out of report, I immediately assessed this patient. She was pale, lethargic, and had an increased respiratory effort. A new nurse who I was orienting was assisting me that day.
I was able to explain my rationales and thinking to her so she could process what was happening and what needed to be done. As I pondered what might be happening to this patient, it dawned on me that at her age, she might be taking oral contraceptives placing her at greater risk for a PE, which might explain her rapid heart rate and respiratory rate.
I checked with her mother and sure enough, she was taking daily oral contraceptives. I called the physician again to see if he would like to order a CT scan, which he did. We decided to take her to CT scan first before moving her to ICU in order that she could get a faster diagnosis due to her rapidly deteriorating condition.
The nurse I was orienting went with me to take the patient to CT scan with the heart monitor and her oxygen. For this patient, it was critical that she had the CT scan as quickly as possible to get the proper diagnosis to guide treatment.
In this situation, the use of critical thinking to evaluate the evidence for what was going on with this patient was essential. I had to question what we were currently doing for her and what else needed to be done in order to provide the best care. Critical thinking and nursing science: Nursing Science Quarterly, 15 3 What it is and why it counts.
Critical thinking and evidence- based practice.
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