The definition of critical thinking is transferring and applying knowledge and skills in a new situation.
Three forces—rising patient complexity, decreasing length of stay, and increased protocolization—now challenge even tenured nurses long recognized as strong critical thinkers.
This toolkit includes 16 exercises to help bolster frontline nurses' critical thinking skills at every career stage.
Moreover, the challenge of equipping nurses to think critically is scaling.
Nurses long recognized as strong critical thinkers are increasingly finding themselves challenged as the care environment becomes more complex.
This toolkit contains 16 targeted exercises to enhance bedside nurse performance on five core components of critical thinking.
The exercises are designed for nurses at every career stage—tenured nurses as well as new graduates.
For example, learning standard protocols for patient care and treatment is an acceptable practice.
However, considering the likelihood that problems unrelated to specific protocols may arise — such as a patient’s adverse reaction to medication or a newly reported pain sensation — nurses who are overly reliant on protocols may not possess sufficient analytical aptitude to properly address emerging situations.
As nurses become more confident in their judgment and are able to quickly and accurately evaluate situations, they will be better prepared for the unexpected and ready to adapt to patients’ needs.
Today's environment makes it difficult for nurses to think critically.