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Critical Thinking for Clinical Decision Making by Nurses

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Critical thinking has defined as comprising the mental processes, strategies and representations people use to solve problems, make decisions, and learn new concepts. Critical thinking is that mode of thinking about any subject, content, or problem in which the thinker implement the quality of their thinking by skillfully analyzing, assessing, and reconstructing them. Critical thinking is self-directed, self-disciplined, self-monitored, and self-corrective thinking pattern. It presupposes assent to rigorous standards of excellence and mindful command of their uses. It entails effective communication and problem-solving abilities, as well as a commitment to overcome of native egocentrism and sociocentrism.

Construing critical thinking as “the correct assessing of statements,” overlapping characteristics of the critical thinker are presented along with appropriate lists of criteria. A logical analysis of the abilities is made along dimensions: logical, critical, and pragmatic. Possible research steps for the evaluation and teaching of critical thinking are suggested.

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As well as critical thinking is a thought of process used by nurses for clinical decision making. This descriptive correlational study focused on the relationships among critical thinking decision making and clinical nursing expertise during a clinical simulation. A midranges theory, developed from Benner and Paul mentioned that as novice nurses become experts and develop clinical expertise through experiences and the acquisition of knowledge, critical thinking is developed and used for clinical decision making. Critical thinking and decision making increased with the level of clinical expertise.

The need of critical thinking in nursing has been accentuated in response to the rapidly changing health-care environment. Nurses must think critically to provide effective care while coping with the expansion in role associated with the complexities of current situation of health-care systems. A history of inquiry into critical thinking and research to support the conclusion that critical thinking is necessary not only in the clinical practice setting, but also as an integral component of nursing-education programs to promote the development of nurses’ critical-thinking abilities.

Critical thinking is not limited to problem solving or decision making, professional nurses should use critical thinking to make observations, draw conclusions, create information and ideas, evaluate, and improve their knowledge base.

There are some characteristics of critical thinking:

Critical thinking is reasonable and rational. Critical thinkers do not jump to conclusions. As nurses, we are trained for collecting data (vital signs, for example), weigh the facts (blood pressure high, patient complaining of headache) and think the matter through (check for orders for blood pressure medications or call physician and request treatment options).

Critical thinking is reflective. We should think the matter through, weighing the facts and evidence (does the patient have a history of high blood pressure, did he get his medications today, or was he off the unit when he normally would have taken them?). Things to consider.

Critical thinking inspires an attitude of inquiry. A nurse who thinks critically wants to know how the body works, react and why it responds the way it does to disease, treatment and medications.

Critical thinking is autonomous thinking. Critical thinkers are not easily manipulated. The patient in the emergency unit demands medication for pain. The nurse needs specifics: how much pain, where, for how long? How often and does the client have a history with pain medications? Is it drug seeking behavior? Every nurse worth their salt has investigated the answers to these questions.

Critical thinking includes creative thinking. Nurses come with original ideas for day-to-day problems. As mentioned in previous about medical mission work, the nursing team invented catheter collection containers out of water bottles and personal belonging bags out of used surgical gown sleeves. More mundane inventions happen daily in your local hospital. For example, where you work, scrub nurses use 3ml syringes as containers for their micro needle holders. Keeps the needle loaded and safely out of the way until the surgeon needs it.

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