The Role of Critical Thinking in Nursing Practice

TheRole of Critical Thinking in Nursing Practice

TheRole of Critical Thinking in Nursing Practice

Criticalthinking is fundamental in nursing and involves the application of anintellectual process using skillful reasoning. For one to acquire theessential thinking skills, he or she passes through an individuallearning process. Following a reflection of the course material, thisessay will focus on the role of critical thinking in nursing practiceand the link between critical thinking, scholarship, and clinicalexperience.

Thereare several stages that an individual undergoes to acquire clinicalcompetence. Benner, a theorist, discovered the model that describesthe stages of attaining clinical competence. In every stage, there isan advancement of skills and knowledge as well as experience. In thelast step which is the expert, an individual combines criticalthinking and the clinical experience in solving some of the clinicalissues (James, 2010).

Peoplewho have natural nurturing abilities are often attracted to thenursing profession (Ferngren, 2009). Therefore, critical thinking iscentral to clinical practice. It involves the identification of aproblem, determination of the best solution and deciding on the mostefficient method to solve the problem. In clinical practice, suchskills are needed in every day’s routine. The inability to makerational decisions at the clinic can lead to one struggling inhis/her duties as an individual nurse. Although practical skills arelearned in nursing schools, those alone are insufficient. Clinicalcompetence is regarded as the combination of critical thinking andpractical skills.

Inthe area of nursing, critical thinking is the ability to reason in alogical and systematic manner upon a decision for an act to promotethe safe nursing practice. It ensures that quality care and serviceis maintained. As practitioners develop this ability, they exerciseintellectual standards and proficiency. The thinking skills areessential in sound clinical judgments and safe decision making.

Criticalthinking strategies are crucial in promoting clinical competence.There are various methods of developing the critical thought innursing. Questioning forms one of the methods of deriving thecritical thinking. The question may be asked of the students, whorespond by applying critical thinking skills such as interpretation,analysis and coming up with assumptions that form the conclusion.Classroom discussions and debates help develop critical thinking.When students are challenged against two arguments, this oftenpromotes critical thinking. Clinical experiences forms the foundationfor my growth, skills, knowledge, and critical thinking.

Evaluationis a clinical thinking strategy that encourages the clinicalpractice. It is often practiced before research is done (Cohen,2008). Equally, the assessment of research evidence requires theapplication of critical thinking skills. A good clinical judgmentshould be exercised. Research findings can sometimes be conflicting,and the best scientific evidence must be selected. By applyingcritical thinking, the most relevant research evidence is selected.

Criticalthinking skills are essential to nursing. When combined with clinicalexperience, it enhances clinical competence. Hence, the twocomplement each other in every aspect. Scholarship, on the otherhand, when available advances the teaching, research, and thepractice of nurses across the globe. For nursing to develop and havean impact on the health care industry, clinical scholarship remainsintegral. The educators and health organizations must work togetherto achieve this goal. Consequently, academic scholarship, criticalthinking and nursing practice are all regarded as linked in severalways (Lipe &amp Beasley, 2004).

Inconclusion, critical thinking is crucial in nursing and assistsprofessional nurses in providing quality care. Clinical experience isalso essential in assessing certain situations. Both of the elementshave resultant benefits to the nursing discipline.


Cohen, S. (2008). Critical thinking in long-term care nursing: Skills to assess, analyze, and act. . New York: HCPro.

Ferngren, G. (2009). Medicine &amp Health care in early Christianity. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University.

James, M. (2010). Thinking Critically about critical thinking. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Lipe, S., &amp Beasley, S. (2004). Critical thinking in Nursing: A cognitive skills workbook. New York: Lippincott Williams &amp Wilkins.