Critical Thinking Training Is Key for Perioperative Nurses

But fast pace and unpredictability of perioperative environment is the place to hone skills
By Jane Parry
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Feb. 25 (HealthDay News) -- The complexity, fast pace and unpredictability of the perioperative environment make critical thinking skills crucial for perioperative nurses, and although such skills are taught as part of nursing training, they can only be honed by practical experience, according to a review of critical thinking in the nursing context published in the February issue of the AORN Journal.

Jackie H. Jones, R.N., of Kennesaw State University in Georgia writes that the broad range of definitions of critical thinking, with literally hundreds of attributes assigned to critical thinking, partly explains why mandates to teach it vary so widely.

Nursing education can lay the theoretical foundation for critical thinking, Jones says, and provides a wide range of learning strategies to develop critical thinking, such as reflection, role playing and computer simulations. Putting new and experienced nurses together in a group exercise can help novices learn from their more seasoned counterparts in the practical application of critical thinking skills.

"Perhaps the most significant challenges to teaching critical thinking in practice environments are the time constraints and demands on nurses' time," the author writes. "However, after strategies have been chosen and developed, implementation will involve less time with experience. With planning and commitment, the challenges can be met and the reward will be nurses with enhanced critical thinking skills."

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