The healthcare industry is facing shortages. With limited time to catch new nurses and other providers up to the level of those retiring, healthcare organizations must work quickly and efficiently to ensure staff is equipped to provide quality patient care. In the article from which this post is taken, we speak with HealthStream’s Associate VP for Clinical Staff Development, Christie Kerwan, about assessing and developing nurses for the ability to think critically.
The Intersection of Technology and Experiential Knowledge
As healthcare becomes increasingly integrated with technology, Providers must leverage their reliance on medical devices with their experiential knowledge to make significant patient care decisions. However, what happens when a new hire doesn’t have enough experience to pull from when faced with a critical decision—when a monitor says everything is okay but something doesn’t seem right with the patient? Or when they encounter an experience they’ve never seen before and the patient is in their care? Decision-making skills like these depend on the ability to think critically at a high level, something that cannot be easily taught in a classroom.
A New Way to Define Critical Thinking
Kerwan approaches critical thinking differently than most. “A lot of people understand critical thinking as a skill that can be taught,” says Kerwan. “I define it as a process in which a person blends his or her theoretical knowledge with their experiential knowledge and applies that combined information to assess, plan, and ultimately act in any given situation.”
Whereas a skill is something that can be taught and checked off, the process of learning how to think critically is a progression that grows over time. Kerwan explains that the more theoretical knowledge you gain and the more experiential knowledge you get by practicing day after day, the more your ability to think critically is going to continue to improve.
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