Critical Thinking in Nursing

When it comes to our concept of a nurse, more than likely, we are all guilty of conjuring up an image of an outdated stereotype, something we were used to seeing in movies or on television: it’s the image of a woman dressed in white, wearing a white hat and carrying a tray of pills to a patient’s room. She doesn’t ask questions, she simply carries out doctor’s orders.

Times have changed. Nurses need to utilize critical thinking in their actions and decisions every day on the job, which is why critical thinking in nursing has become an important skill to learn.

Critical Thinking Plays a Role in Nursing Education

Today’s nurses play a major part in patient care, and they receive intense medical and patient care training that prepares them for tasks well beyond handing out pills and learn the important place that critical thinking in nursing occupies in practice.

One of the most important aspects of their education, critical thinking in nursing truly rounds out a nurse’s expertise and effectiveness. Developing critical thinking skills, nurses position themselves to manage and strategize patient care situations, deal with multiple physicians, family members and others involved in a patient’s treatment, and enhance their expertise in such a way as to truly excel in their occupation.

Critical thinking in nursing is integral to a nurse practitioner’s success.

Nursing Research

When it comes to health care research, the critical thinking required in nursing practice plays a unique role. Of all the health care professionals involved in a patient’s treatment, none stay as closely involved in day-to-day care as nurses. Certainly, they provide medical care to patients, but more than that, they offer understanding, compassion and a chance for patients to talk through not just their physical reactions to treatment but their feelings about it.

Simply put, nurses connect with their patients. A recent article in John Hopkins University’s Nursing magazine, describes how a nurses’ relationships to patients proves vital to the field of health care research. Who better to offer observations, analysis and a human perspective of treatment than nurses in the thick of helping patients get through their care physically and emotionally?

Nursing Careers

Critical thinking in nursing makes a significant difference to the health care profession as a whole. As the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates, nurses represent the largest health care occupation, holding over 2.75 million jobs. The medical skills and critical thinking they bring to patient care have the power to enhance medical treatments for decades to come.

Learn more about the different types of nursing career specialties and nursing education options.

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook; Johns Hopkins University.

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