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To begin with, critical thinking is an attribute which is a mandatory for anyone in the nursing practice. As a matter of fact, nursing is a professional discipline rather than an academic one and therefore critical thinking is prerequisite. Along with this, it is important to put it that being a nursing professional requires one to learn how to think like a nurse (Rubenfeld and Scheffer 11). From a more practical point of view, critical thinking is the disciplined process of engaging one's mind intellectually to skillfully apply reason as a tool to guide a belief or rather an action.
So to speak, critical thinking for a nurse is important as it helps in the making of decisions. It is actually the capability of a nurse to think systematically, logically and in a way that he or she gives room for questions and reflection as it regards the reasoning process. When critical thinking is applied in the context of nursing, it allows for safety and quality in the nursing practice. As a matter of fact, critical thinking involves the aspect of adhering to intellectual standards by ensuring that reasoning is applied with aptness (Lipe and Beasley 4).
Commonly, the decision making processes employed by nurses involve problems with a great extent of complexity. As such, these problems involve physical and psychosocial well being of the clients and as such, there should be an interaction with the other disciplines. Needless to say, making decisions in the face of complex problems requires that one is able to think critically (Lipe and Beasley 68).Therefore, critical thinking and decision making goes hand in hand if it may be said.
In combination with this, the practice of nursing involves providing solution to problems, making decisions and at the same time setting of priorities. In line with this, it therefore becomes mandatory for one to employ the clarity of thought in order to come up with apt decisions. Critical thinking is as such goal oriented in the sense that thoughts are directed and purposed (Lipe and Beasley 11). In particular, critical thinking is often the solution of a problem. It actually brings about administration of safe and competent nursing care.
Accordingly, it involves the aspects of clustering and analysis of data in order to bring about a solution to a problem. There are specific standards needed for critical thinking. They incorporate clarity, precision, depth, relevance, logical, significance, accuracy and fairness. A critical thinker in this sense should actually possess good judgment and intuition making use of analytical reasoning. This is an attribute which should be possessed by a nurse in order to remain effective while delivering in the nursing care. Besides this point, nurses make use of critical thinking skills on daily basis with the sole aim of interpreting, analyzing, evaluating, deducting, explaining and carrying of self regulation while delivering patient care (Lipe and Beasley 12).
To be more specific in regard to critical thinking as it relates to nursing, the cognitive skills which are used by nurses in the nursing process analyze and interpret data through critical thinking. As such, critical thinking calls for one to avoid the practice breakdowns brought about by abstract thinking which ignores logic and relies heavily on abstract principles presented in the book without exploring what diverse cases in the current world of nursing practicing present. Rubenfeld and Scheffer (2006) put it that critical thinking is the metaphorical bridge between information and action. Therefore, critical thinking is prerequisite to link the information gathered by nurses regarding the situation of a patient and the action thereof taken (10). In order for a nursing student to provide a rationale for his or her nursing intervention, critical thinking is required.
From a general point of view, critical thinking is important in the field of nursing as it enhances the ability of the nurse to make decisions and provide sound clinical judgment. It also helps the nurse to solve problems with efficacy while avoiding bias and making of common errors of which they can be avoided by thinking critically to appropriately apply theory to practice with proficiency.