Nurses use critical thinking skills every day. Think of a time you used critical thinking in your nursing role; now share your example online explaining why you feel it was critical thinking and not just decision making or problem-solving.
My current role is much different than the usual bed side nursing role. I work as a coordinator for a patient support program. Currently I joined a program within our team that just launched in July 2022. Im the coordinator for one of our largest clinics – I was told that I can expect the largest number of enrolments from them. As weeks passed by I noticed that I was hardly getting any enrolments from this centre. I decided to dig deeper to see “why” and to also find a possible “root problem”. I reached out to the clinic to set up a meeting. I also looked at our database to see when the enrolment started to drop and for which medication. After having our discussion and asking questions, I learned about the issues they are facing in their clinic ie. they are currently in transition to a completely new EMR, their nurse coordinator just retired and they now have a new nurse coordinator, IN ADDITION to the introduction of our new program . After gathering this data I realized the drop in enrolment (especially for one of the medications) is due to all these changes happening at the same time and they could not keep up. Plus some of our work processes was not helping their current situation. I decided to listen to see what is important for the clinic (Prioritization) and then I decided to speak with multiple departments (ie Marketing, education, and science liaisons) in order to come up with action plan that is specific to the clinic. Once I came up with several possible solutions, I laid out the pros and cons. From there I chose a possible solution that would best suit the needs of the clinic and I proposed the solution to my team and explained WHY this could be the best course of action. Fast forward to a few weeks later, I slowly start getting more enrolments and I have built a much better relationship with the clinic
That sounds like quite the issue that really required top notch critical thinking skills to get to the root of the problem. You really looked into all possible avenues as to why patient enrollment was such an issue and asked the right questions to get all the information needed to make the right plan to move forward and remedy the situation.
A time where I used critical thinking in my work as opposed to decision-making or problem solving happened years ago with a young patient of mine.
I had arrived at his home that morning to help his mother get him ready for school. This patient had severe cerebral palsy as well as several other diagnosis. His mother told me she had decided to keep him at home that day as he just wasn’t himself and was running a bit of a fever. She also thought his breathing sounded more strained as well. He seemed just a little unwell overall to me as well. So we stayed home and carried on with our day.
As the day went on, he seemed to be getting worse. He was much paler, quiet, his temperature continued to rise, and he was becoming intolerant of his g-tube feed. A check of vitals showed a fever, but otherwise normal vitals. It was difficult to get a good listen of his lungs though due to a stridor. Another hour or so went by. He was getting paler, very sleepy, and I noticed a bluish discoloration to his lips. I immediately called 9-1-1 and closely monitored the patient until the paramedics arrived.
At the hospital an exam and x-ray revealed double-lung pneumonia like due to silent aspiration of his feeds. Although initially my patient was not outwardly displaying symptoms of serious concern, he wasn’t himself and I knew from my own observations and monitoring that something wasn’t right and he needed help.
Critical thinking is about seeing every side to a situation and making the best decisions for it both in the short-term and long-term based on evidence and data collected