Critical thinking

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Critical thinking ( National League of Nurses 2002)
a Definition: a discipline specific, reflective reasoning process that guides the nurse in generating,
implementing and evaluating approaches dealing with client care and professional concerns
b Importance: to provide safe, competent and skillful nursing practice
c Skills
i. Critical Analysis: the application of set of questions to a particular situation or idea to determine
essential information and ideas and disregard superflouos information and ideas
ii. Inductive and deductive reasoning
Inductive reasoning: generalizations are formed from a set of facts or observations. From
specific examples to generalized conclusions
Deductive reasoning: reasoning from a general premise to a specific conclusion
iii. Differentiating facts from fictions
iv. Making valid inferences
v. Clarifying concepts
vi. Recognition assumptions
d Attitudes that foster Critical Thinking
1 Independence: individuals think for themselves, consider a variety of ideas, learn from them and
make their own judgments about them and take responsibility for their own views
2 Fair mindedness: assessing all viewpoints with the same standards and not basing their
judgment on personal or group bias and prejudice
3 Insight to egocentricity: being open to the possibility that their personal biases or social
pressures and customs can unduly affect their thinking
4 Intellectual ability: having an awareness of the limits of one’s own knowledge
5 Intellectual courage to challenge status quo and rituals: ability to recognize that sometimes beliefs
are false or misleading and with an attitude of courage one’s willingness to consider and examine
one’s own ideas and views
6 Integrity: application of the same rigorous standards of proof to their own knowledge and beliefs
as they apply to the knowledge and belief of other’s
7 Perseverance: determination to clarify concepts and sort related issues in spite of difficulties and
8 Confidence: well-reasoned thinking will lead to trustworthy conclusions, hence, they cultivate an
attitude of confidence in the reasoning process and examine emotion laden arguments using the
standards of thought
9 Curiosity: a strong desire to learn or know something
Application of critical thinking in Nursing
1 scientific problem solving and decision making
Problem solving: determining solutions to problems
Approaches to problem solving
a trial and error: a number of approaches are tried until a solution is found
b Intuition: the understanding or learning of things without the conscious use of reasoning
c Modified scientific method
Define a problem
v Make a decision
ii Gather information
vi Implement the decision
iii Analyze information
vii Evaluate the decision
iv Develop solutions
Decision making process: a critical thinking process for choosing the best actions
to meet the desired goals
Identify the purpose
iv Seek alternatives
ii Set criteria
v Examine alternatives
1 What is the desired outcome
vi Project
2 What needs to be preserved
vii Implement
3 What needs to be avoided
viii Evaluate outcome
iii Weight the criteria

x Therapeutic use of self - Refers to the ability to use our personality consciously and in full
awareness in an attempt to relate with clients and perform nursing interventions
xi Elements:
Self awareness - the capacity to focus attention to self. When we focus on ourselves, we can
evaluate our selves based on the standards that specify how we ought to think, feel and behave.
The process of self-evaluation allows us to experience pride or dissatisfaction with the self and
consequently either continue or change behavior. Therefore, self-awareness is a major mechanism
of self-control
Self awareness includes the recognition of our personality, our strengths and weaknesses,
our likes and dislikes.
II Empathy and sympathy - Empathy is the ability to mutually experience the thoughts, emotions,
and direct experience of others without them being directly communicated intentionally
Sympathy is a feeling of care and understanding of a suffering being. It implies a desire to
help an individual in order to relieve his distress
III Cross cultural sensitivity
xiv Refers to the awareness and acceptance of other cultures
IV Responsible, ethical practice


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