Critical thinking has generally been defined as reasoned, reflective thinking which can evaluate the given evidence and its significance to the patient’s situation (Cody, 2002).Mc Grath (2005) also describes how critical thinking involves reflection and occasionally, suspension of one’s immediate judgment to adequately evaluate and appraise a situation, including questioning whether the current practice is evidence-based.
Cody (2002) 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.
Cody (2002) also proposes that critical thinking be viewed more as a creative/constructive and relational process, rather than a lone individual who must find answers to complex problems through their own analytical reasoning.
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.
Regardless of the seemingly overuse of nursing’s buzzword, the concept remains essential for nurses to develop this skill: not only to have knowledge but to be able to apply knowledge in anticipation of patients’ needs using evidence-based care guidelines.
discussion about the critical thinking skills needed by nurse managers, who also must function in a highly complex environment.
Many nurse managers have risen to their current positions based on their competence in a clinical role, without any formal training or experience in leadership and management skills.
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.
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.