Academic journal article Nursing Education Perspectives

Thinking like a Nurse, Revisited

Academic journal article Nursing Education Perspectives

Thinking like a Nurse, Revisited

Article excerpt

As nurse educators, we are consumed with deliberations about how to best prepare tomorrow's nurses, especially given the complexity of the health care environments in which they will work. We want our graduates to be safe, competent practitioners, well prepared to care for individuals and families with complex health care needs. And we want them to practice to the full extent of their educational preparation and scope of practice.

As we continue to question our pedagogy, we remind ourselves that we want the most skilled and knowledgeable nurses caring for ourselves and for our families when we require care - the expert nurse, not the novice described in Benner's (1984) theory. Yet, we know from the recent research published by Kavanagh and Szweda (2017) that most new graduates are not expert nurses. Based on five years of data, evaluating more than 5,000 newly graduated nurses from more than 140 nursing programs, the researchers found that fewer than one-fourth scored in the safe or acceptable range (p. 58).

We know that knowledge is only part of the requirement for safe practice. We recognize that we must prepare individuals whose professional understandings are grounded in a philosophical perspective of persons and their environments and the nurse's role in helping individuals move toward health and wellness.

For us as educators, our problem is also not a shortage of knowledge. We have a rich history, with a renewed focus on nursing education research. We can cite past research on clinical judgment, including research on problem solving, decision-making, and critical thinking, terms that are often used synonymously with clinical judgment. …

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