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Contact us if you experience any difficulty logging in. Sherman, Ed D, RN, FAAN An experienced nurse was bemoaning the lack of critical thinking skills demonstrated by novice nurses. The ability to be an astute critical thinker does not happen over night.
With the focus today on evidence-based practice, nurse leaders need to promote a culture of critical thinking and inquiry.
A culture of inquiry begins by valuing the use of questions in one’s own leadership practice.
In nursing, critical thinking for clinical decision-making is the ability to think in a systematic and logical manner with openness to question and reflect on the reasoning process used to ensure safe nursing practice and quality care (Heaslip).
A key concept in critical thinking is the art of reflection. Robert Ennis at Illinois State University has identified key behaviors of critical thinkers.
2 In doing such thinking, one is helped by the employment of a set of critical thinking dispositions and abilities that I shall outline, and that can serve as a set of comprehensive goals for a critical thinking curriculum and its assessment.
Pedagogical and psychometric usefulness, not elegance or mutual exclusiveness, is the purpose of this outline.Dewey defined critical thinking as “reflective thought,” requiring healthy skepticism, an open mind, and suspended judgment.Critical thinking is active, in contrast to passive acceptance of the ideas of others.It could be used for an overall critical thinking curriculum outline, or as a comprehensive table of specifications for critical thinking assessment.” —Robert H.Ennis, “An Outline of Goals for a Critical Thinking Curriculum and Its Assessment” (2002) A motley combination of Anglo-Saxon, Latin, and Germanic dialects, the English language (more or less as we know it) coalesced between the 9th and 13th centuries.Reflection on one’s work is rare although experts advise that it is necessary for professional growth.So the challenge for nurse leaders is how to promote critical thinking so it becomes integrated into everyday nursing practice. A simple definition of critical thinking is that it is reasonable, reflective thinking focused on deciding what to believe or do.Relevant Quotations: “The essence of critical thinking is suspended judgment; and the essence of this suspense is inquiry to determine the nature of the problem before proceeding to attempts at its solution.This, more than any other thing, transforms mere inference into tested inference, suggested conclusions into proof.” —John Dewey, (1910) “Critical thinking, as the term is generally used these days, roughly means reasonable and reflective thinking focused on deciding what to believe or do.If you were redesigning care today with a blank slate, what type of delivery system would you develop? To challenge assumptions – What would happen if we fail to take action in view of what is happening with health reform?Do you think that this type of care needs to be delivered in a hospital setting? To create ownership of solutions – Based on your nursing experience, what do you suggest that we do here?