Discuss what critical thinking in nursing practice

Re: Topic 2 DQ 1

The use of evidence-based practice (EBP) and the ability of a nurse to critically think yields better patient outcomes and increased patient satisfaction. Critical thinking in nursing consists of interpretation and analysis of a problem, reasoning to find a solution, applying and evaluating the results (Scheffer & Rubenfeld, 2000 as cited in Ward-Smith, 2020). Having a nurse that can critically think versus one that lacks this skill can mean life or death for a patient. A critical thinker will ask questions, “what is the evidence behind this change in care” but will also be receptive to change regardless of personal bias. For example, our facility had implemented a new policy of notifying the physician of all hypoglycemic events. Many nurses were against this change and felt no need to inform the physician if they treat the episode and normalize the blood sugar. Others were more receptive to change and knew that this would benefit the patient as perhaps insulin dosage changes were needed, resulting in better patient outcomes.

The primary purpose of EBP, which is driven by data collection, is to create practices and policies that will yield desirable patient outcomes (Brower & Nemec, 2017 as cited in Falkner, 2017). Nursing practice is no longer driven by previous customs but by evidence gathered through research and studies. As an example, evidence suggests using a fall risk assessment tool will improve patient safety by decreasing the number of falls. In the nursing profession, one always strives to provide the best care possible to those we serve. Better patient outcomes and patient satisfaction are every nurse’s ultimate goal and are attainable if they can critically think and use EBP. It is of extreme importance that the individual keeps up to date with the latest studies on patient care and gets additional training if he /she feels they lack critical thinking skills.

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