It involves reasoning and purposeful, systematic, reflective, rational, outcome-directed thinking based on a body of knowledge, as well as examination and analysis of all available information and ideas.
Critical thinking leads to the formulation of conclusions and the most appropriate, often creative, decisions, options, or alternatives.
In today’s health care arena, the nurse is faced with increasingly complex issues and situations resulting from advanced technology, greater acuity of patients in hospital and community settings, an aging population, and complex disease processes, as well as ethical and cultural factors.
Traditionally, nurses have used a problem-solving approach in planning and providing nursing care.
The critical thinker is an inquisitive, fair-minded truth seeker with an open-mindedness to the alternative solutions that might surface. The skills involved in critical thinking are developed over time through effort, practice, and experience.