Academic journal article Nursing Education Perspectives

Critical Thinking: How Do We Know It in Nursing Education and Practice?

Academic journal article Nursing Education Perspectives

Critical Thinking: How Do We Know It in Nursing Education and Practice?

Article excerpt

In this issue of Nursing Education Perspectives, we have included two articles focused on critical thinking in nursing. Both reflect scholarly analysis, yet from different points of view. Phyllis Turner reviewed the nursing literature from 1982 to 2002 to determine changes in the concept of critical thinking over time. Although she concludes that the concept has matured, reflected in clearer definitions in the literature, she recommends continued attention to boundary delineation within definitions of critical thinking. Dorothy del Bueno describes a failure among new nursing graduates to translate knowledge into practice, a situation that she characterises as a crisis. Stating that critical thinking among recent graduates has not improved since the early 1990s, she identifies possible causes and makes several recommendations for nursing education.

Influenced by the writings of David Schon in the 1983 classic The Reflective Practitioner (Basic Books), educators in clinical disciplines such as nursing and medicine know that information itself is not sufficient for knowing in action, or sound clinical judgment and decision making. With the explosion of availability of knowledge and facts through the Internet, patients and family members now have ample information about their health and illness and potential treatments. But they still seek the clinical judgment of clinicians. They want someone to help them make sense of what is happening to them.

If providing information alone were the solution, our role as educators would be straightforward, and the use of technology to support learning would be clear-cut. The more information we imparted, the better clinical practice would be. Alas, the solution is not so easy, in spite of the fact that nurse educators often focus on providing as much information as possible to their students and struggle to squeeze all essential information into their lectures. …

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