The world of medicine obeys to the strict rules, and when you violate these rules, it may be close to committing a crime. Lives of hundreds of people depend on how proficient, careful and attentive you are in your studies. When you choose your future profession, you must be more than 100% sure if you suddenly decide to become a nurse. Yeah, exactly, the nurse! If you do, in such a case you need to know that being a nurse is far more than just flying over a hospital in a white lab coat, wearing this amusing nurse cap and pretending that you are an angel of mercy. It takes a lot of efforts and nerve to become the nurse. Finally, it takes a lot of time to become the nurse. You need to be sure that this is your genuine desire, and that you are capable of dealing with various kinds of people, even inadequate ones. When you have made up your mind, and you have got into the desired medical educational institution, the next thing you encounter is difficulties. It’ll be very hard to memorize all these piles of books, regulations and laws, but you must because your knowledge of this trade pretty much defines what kind of a nurse you are to become. Finally, it defines the subject of this article because its topic is the thing that seems difficult for the majority of freshmen from Nursing Departments. This difficulty is called “critical thinking”.
We’ve covered this topic before, but decided to add another cherry to this complicated C.T. pie. Critical thinking (C.T.) is complicated as it is, and we bet you can imagine how difficult this topic is in terms of nursing. We guess that you think that critical thinking and nursing is incompatible, but you are wrong. And during the next several pages we are going to prove you why. In addition, you are going to learn a critical thinking definition, and we are going to tell you about some critical thinking nursing scenarios, a model for nursing judgement, critical thinking in the nursing process, etc.
So, let’s get to the definition of a C.T. as a standalone process. A C.T. is thinking over something with the involvement of critique; it is a complete and logical assessment of a situation. What do we know about the application of a C.T. in nursing? Basically, it is the same logical assessment of a situation, but in terms of a patient care and patient treatment. It means that before you do something related to your patient’s wellbeing or a patient’s disease, you should gather as much information as possible. You should know everything.
So, what critical thinking skills we need to be effective in nursing? There are three words that define an efficient and professional nurse. They are skills, knowledge and judgement. It is simple: before you are put to work as a nurse, you need to gain some knowledge of what you are going to do as a nurse. When you gain this knowledge, you need to acquire some skills to be able to practice them. Finally, when you have in possession these two previous factors, you need to gather some information about a certain issue to be able to make sound decisions. That’s all. And now it looks simple, but when you are reading these crabbed scientific books with a hint of philosophy, you start to question your own sanity in this respect. It is no secret that today’s world of medicine requires nurses to have this C.T. thing from the start, even when they are just freshmen, and when they don’t have it, it causes a lot of troubles and struggle to get that.
It is very difficult to become a master critical thinker, but the proof of the pudding is in the eating, so practice C.T. before you have to do it in combination with medical practice. For example, try to evaluate a certain situation and find more than just one obvious solution to it. It is really helpful in terms of enlarging your knowledge and attention. Eventually, you’ll learn to pay attention to everything that is going on around you.
The next thing that you need to do is to believe that you know it! We’re not kidding, believe in yourself is the first step on the way to success. Without it, all your efforts will be worthless. You had a serious reason why you’ve chosen to become a nurse, so follow it now, or forget it.
We’ve been talking of data collection and information gathering over here, and it is another very important detail of this question. Before you start doing something, you need to know how, why, and when you should do it. You need to understand that every aspect of learning is important for your future. As brain neurons are interconnected, in the same way, your theoretical knowledge is connected to its practical application.
When you’ve gathered all the necessary information, you need to evaluate the current situation. You need to look at everything that surrounds your patient, and not just try to figure out the patient himself/herself. Let’s look at one critical thinking example in nursing.
You enter a patient’s room who has just been transported there from an operating room. Look at his/her room, try to understand what you need to do. Look not only at your patient, look at the things that surround him/her. Look at what state your patient is, what he or she needs, what you need to bring him/her. Maybe, he needs more comfort, and in such a case, you are to provide with more comfort. You should filter the information that you’ve gathered about your patient, you should evaluate the entire situation, and then you can proceed to acting. That is called C.T. in nursing! And there are many similar critical thinking examples in nursing and we can enumerate them forever, but there is no point.
When you are being interviewed, you may be given some problem with several possible ways of settlement. What you are to do, is to assess all the given information and find the most practical and applicable decision in such situation. IIn general, flowsheet of a paper on critical thinking for students looks like this:
Gathering Information – Evaluating Information – Finding Appropriate Solution – Acting.
That’s the general flowsheet, but every patient is unique in his/her own way, and that is why you need to act accordingly.
Another thing that you have to learn is that you don’t have to be afraid of asking questions. You are welcome to ask experienced doctors or colleagues. On the contrary, doctors appreciate when they are being asked by their young colleagues. Such guys help you learn, and that’s completely normal.
We hope that our little help with the critical thinking process in nursing serves you really good. Finally, this is how it is thinking like a nurse. It really looks like you have to think about everything at the same time, but it was your choice. So, you alone have to bear this responsibility and think like a true nurse!
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