Critical thinking and reasoning in nursing


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Print Course | Improving Critical Thinking, Clinical Reasoning, and Clinical Judgment > OT

Concepts of critical thinking, clinical reasoning, and clinical judgment are often used interchangeably. However, they are not one and the same, and understanding subtle difference among them is important. Following a review of the literature for definitions and uses of the terms, the author provides a summary focused on similarities and differences in the processes of critical thinking, clinical reasoning, and clinical judgment and notes suggested methods of measuring each.

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Explaining — Clearly and concisely explaining your conclusions. The nurse needs to be able to give a sound rationale for her answers. Self regulating — You have to monitor your own thinking processes.

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This means that you must reflect on the process that lead to the conclusion. You should self correct in this process as needed.

Critical Thinking, Clinical Reasoning, and Clinical Judgment

Be on alert for bias and improper assumptions. Errors that occur in critical thinking in nursing can cause incorrect conclusions. This is particularly dangerous in nursing, because an incorrect conclusion can lead to incorrect clinical actions. Critical thinking can fail when logic is improperly used.

Nursing Process Steps (CRITICAL THINKING)

One common fallacy is when one uses a circular argument. A nurse could write a nursing diagnosis that reads Coping is ineffective, as can be seen by the inability to cope.

Critical Thinking: A Vital Trait for Nurses

Another common illogical thought process is known as appeal to tradition. Logic errors also can happen when a thinking makes generalizations and does not think about the evidence. All people have biases. Critical thinkers are able to look at their biases and do not let them compromise their thinking processes.