Critical thinking plays an important role in nursing, as is the case for many medical and healthcare careers. Every nurse, irrespective of his or her level of specialization, needs to have a fair amount of critical thinking capabilities in carrying out day-to-day activities in the workplace.
What is Meant by “Critical Thinking”?
Before dwelling more on the need for critical thinking on the part of nurses, let us revisit the concept of critical thinking. Let’s understand what it is and its importance in the nursing profession.
Critical thinking refers to the invaluable skill of looking or thinking beyond the obvious. It represents a sincere effort to find logical connection between the ideas. In other words, critical thinking is a special skill that is based firmly on core principles and theories that are guided by logical analysis and sound judgment.
How Critical Thinking Applies to Nursing
As is the case with other professions, a registered nurse or even a certified nursing assistant in the nursing profession, should have this special skill or trait of critical thinking.
The nurse, as part of his or her daily routines, has to take rational decisions. You need to take into consideration all the pros and cons of a particular action. The goal is to arrive at a firm conclusion that the suggested solution will be the correct and appropriate one.
Nurses should always have that freedom of thought in doing their day-to-day activities. They ought to be able to use their critical thinking capabilities to decide the right course of treatment, taking into consideration different aspects and exploring all possible avenues.
Vital Decision Making in Nursing
People engaged in nursing profession are entrusted with the responsibility of providing effective health care to patients. As such, they are accountable for the life of the patients.
Any wrong decision or activities done without any thought, or in haste, might have serious ramifications for the life of the person. Thus, the nurse should use critical thinking skills to ensure that the right course of action is taken, especially in terms of patient outcomes.
Critical thinking requires that all the available options are explored and only the ideal solution that best serves the requirement is found and executed. While providing treatment to the patients, a nurse should ensure that the patient will get relief from the treatment, does not have any complications, and will not suffer from pain or agony during the process of treatment.
The nurse, using his or her critical thinking abilities, should foresee the results of the treatment and be prepared to respond to the results. Choosing the best alternative, and weighing the probable results using foresight are the hallmarks of critical thinking.
All nurses should develop the invaluable skill of critical thinking, armed with sound knowledge and conviction or self-belief. The proficiencies developed can also be used in lucrative health management roles.
Eventually, a percentage of the best thinkers from among the nursing staff gain employment in administration of hospitals and other healthcare facilities. Critical thinking skills are notably enhanced in healthcare administration courses, which encompass business management and leadership training.
Critical Thinking vs Thinking Critically
Many people often confuse critical thinking with thinking critically. These terms are not the same and vastly differ in meaning. Critical thinking involves making a judgment, or taking a rational decision that would ultimately lead to a solution to the problem. Thinking critically often refers to criticizing or offering critical comments.
One of the essential things that differentiate critical thinking from thinking critically is that, critical thinking is related to freedom of thought, whereas thinking critically refers to freedom from thought.