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In recent years, critical thinking skills have been recognized as a necessary component of nursing education.There’s an obvious reason for this: health care today is a complex, high-tech environment, and bedside nurses have to make complex decisions in order to deliver safe, effective patient care.In the past, staff nurses with seniority were given first choice of days off, leaving more junior nurses dissatisfied.
discussion about the critical thinking skills needed by nurse managers, who also must function in a highly complex environment.
Many nurse managers have risen to their current positions based on their competence in a clinical role, without any formal training or experience in leadership and management skills.
A Medscape article about critical thinking skills for nurse managers illustrated, with a hypothetical example, the difference a strong leader can make.
It presented a case study about a manager facing a scheduling conflict over the holidays.
Without these skills, a manager may fall back on reactive, automatic responses to problems – and miss the opportunity to make changes that are visionary and goal-driven.
In 2010, a group of nurse researchers designed a study that would allow them to measure the effects of a manager’s critical thinking skills on the attitude of the floor nurses that person was managing.The Delphi Report by the American Philosophical Association (APA) identified these cognitive skills common to critical thinkers: Critical thinkers are able to categorize and decode the significance and meaning of experiences, situations, data, events, and rules, among others.Critical thinkers can examine varying ideas, statements, questions, descriptions and concepts and analyze the reasoning.For nurse educators who are responsible for undergraduate and graduate learners, teaching critical thinking skills is crucial to the future of healthcare.A landmark 1990 study found critical thinkers demonstrate similar characteristics.Through critical thinking skills, a nurse manager can become a transformational leader.She or he can challenge assumptions, develop a more robust understanding of a problem’s underlying causes, and generate more creative solutions when using critical thinking.Through case studies and hands-on course work, nurses examine the various human resource challenges facing an organization as well as the dynamic nature of the strategic planning and management processes.Nurse educators spend countless hours with students in classrooms and clinical rotations, preparing them to use practical decision-making skills and sound judgment for healthy and safe patient care.Critical thinkers consider relevant information from evidence to draw conclusions.Critical thinkers state the results of their reasoning through sound arguments.