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Critical thinking and clinical decision making in critical care nursing

For you to become a successful nurse, you will need to learn how a nurse thinks on the job.

Clinical Reasoning and Decision-making

In nursing school, you will learn how to do an IV, dress a wound and to save lives , but there is more to being a nurse than just having good clinical skills. What is different about the thinking of a nurse from a sound engineer or dentist? Mainly it is how the nurse views the patient and the sorts of problems nurses have to deal with in their work.

Thinking like a nurse requires you to think about the entire world and content of nursing, including ideas, theories, and concepts in nursing. It also is important that we better develop our intellects and our skills so that we become highly proficient critical thinkers in nursing.

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All of these attributes must be true, whether the nurse is talking, speaking or acting. You also need to do these things when you are reading, writing and talking. Always keep these critical thinking attributes in mind in nursing! Nurses have to get rid of inconsistent, irrelevant and illogical thinking as they think about patient care.


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Nurses need to use language that will clearly communicate a lot of information that is key to good nursing care. It is important to note that nurses are never focused in irrelevant or trivial information. Some skills are more important than others when it comes to critical thinking. Some of these skills are applied in patient care, via the framework known as the Nursing Process. The skills that are most important are:. Interpreting — Understanding and explaining the meaning of information, or a particular event.

How to Think Like a Nurse Using Clinical Reasoning

Analyzing — Investigating a course of action, that is based upon data that is objective and subjective. Evaluating — This is how you assess the value of the information that you got. Is the information relevant, reliable and credible?