Critical Thinking And Evidence Based Practice Essay

1838 words - 7 pages

One of the most essential aspects of doing a job well, no matter what job it is, is the ability to think critically about a situation. Finn (2011) defines critical thinking as “the ability and willingness to assess claims and make objective judgments on the basis of well-supported reasons and evidence rather than emotion or anecdote”. The difference between assessing a certain situation critically and assessing it without any evidence to corroborate your claims is that when you look at something critically, you are using your ability to “come up with the alternative explanations for events, think of research findings and apply new knowledge to social and personal problems” (Finn, 2011). When you can come up with other explanations using evidence, you can also create an alternative way of enhancing the situation. Critical thinking skills are especially important to nurses in a fast-paced setting. Nursing is a very demanding and rewarding field to enter into; it becomes enjoyable when you are good at it. In order to be good at their jobs, nurses need to learn the skills required to think critically and also, relate those skills to their everyday routines. This is known as evidence-based practice. Evidence-based practice is defined as “using the best scientific evidence available to guide clinical decisions and interventions with the goals of fostering self-management skills and improving health outcomes” (Miller, 2011). This paper examines the skills required for critical thinking, how to learn these skills, and how to apply them in clinical settings. (Miller, 2011; Finn, 2011; Noonan, 2011; Lunney, 2010; Wangensteen, Johansson, Bjorkstrom & Nordstrom, 2010; Chitty & Black, 2011).
Critical thinking is an important aspect in nursing care in many ways. One being that the “continuous development of critical thinking (CT) abilities for use in the diagnostic process is needed because diagnoses of human responses are the foundation of nursing care” (Lunney, 2010). Without the ability to critically think during the diagnosis process, nurses are denying their patients the care they need and deserve. The process of critically thinking about the patient’s condition and best treatment method is the fastest and most convenient way of treating them. Before a nurse can help their patient “they must know ‘what is’ the problem, risk state or readiness for health promotion …” (Lunney, 2010). In order to actually help the patient, the nurse must use his/her CT skills to determine how best to execute proper care. According to Chitty & Black (2011) a nurse who properly uses CT skills in her everyday practice does the following:
Raises questions and problems and formulates them clearly and precisely; Gathers and assesses relevant information, using abstract ideas for interpretation; Arrives at conclusions and solutions that are well-reasoned and tests them against relevant standards; Is open-minded and recognizes alternative ways of seeing problems, and...

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