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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Facilitating critical thinking and clinical judgment in clinical nursing education Desrosiers, Sarah

Abstract

Nurses who can critically think and make clinical judgments in the clinical setting are crucial to safe and effective nursing care. This type of critical thinking and clinical judgment is best developed during clinical education, which provides students with the opportunity to bridge the theory to practice gap. Clinical instructors guide students’ development of critical thinking and clinical judgment in the clinical setting. Despite clinical instructors having such a significant impact on critical thinking and clinical judgment there is limited research on how they facilitate students’ development of critical thinking and clinical judgment. This qualitative analysis explored how clinical instructors facilitate the development of critical thinking and clinical judgment of nursing students. This study used interpretive description to analyze interviews with eight clinical instructors to develop themes and subthemes within the data. These themes were discussed in relation to definitions of critical thinking and clinical judgment, indicators for evaluation, clinical teaching strategies, and contextual facilitators and barriers. Clinical instructors who took part in this study defined the concept of critical thinking as : The process that leads to clinical judgment, the decision. Evaluation was based on broad indicators of patient safety, effective communication, students’ confidence in their ability to critically think and make clinical decisions, and taking ownership of their patient care. Clinical instructors identified a variety of clinical teaching methods that they adapted and individualized to specific student needs. Clinical instructors also use multiple strategies to meet student needs, which they then adapt for each cohort. Contextual factors also impact students’ development of critical thinking and clinical judgment such as buddy nurses, the school of nursing curriculum, clinical ]instructors, and the nursing student themselves. This study identified suggestions for curriculum development, clinical instructor development, and potential areas for future research in relation to clinical education. Clinical instructors are key components of nursing education and the development of critical thinking and clinical judgment in nursing students; as such, it is important to understand their perspectives on how they develop these student abilities.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International

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