I have heard it a few times from different physicians and seasoned nurses around the unit complaining, "nurses nowadays lack critical thinking skills," or failing to recognize and initiate interventions appropriately, or to monitor necessary parameters that is disease sensitive.
Is there a difference between critical-thinking and experience? Or does critical thinking comes with experience?
The inability to think critically in the health care setting is concerning when patient's safety is at risk. In order to avoid errors and recognize patient's condition and change in condition, perform nursing interventions independently and anticipate and prioritize orders, nurses must remain cognizant, thinking and acting instantly.
While in school we are given countless scenarios to expand our knowledge and stimulate critical-thinking.
Then we come to the real world, where 6 patients or more are thrown at you, and you must ensure their safety and provide clinically competent care. In a study published by the Journal of Advanced Nursing it compared the critical thinking ability of new grads and more experienced nurses in the areas of initiating independent nursing interventions, differentiation of urgency, reporting essential clinical data, anticipating relevant medical orders, providing relevant rationale to support decisions and problem recognition. New grads in were less likely to meet the expectations than more experienced nurses, and the results improved with more years and experience they accumulated.
So it seems unfair to say nurses nowadays lack critical-thinking skills when they are not given the chance to learn and build on their clinical experience. Some novice nurses may also fall into congestive nursing failure, whereas experienced nurses are able to strategize the workload.
This goes to physicians as well, having worked in a teaching hospital I have witnessed the professional growth of physicians. It takes time to master a skill, and we are constant students in the matters of health care, illnesses and treatments.see
The Dude Nurse
Klaus Campos, BSN-RN