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Throughout my years as an ICU nurse, critical thinking has become a skill that I utilize on a daily basis in my clinical practice. Not only are critical thinking skills a part of my daily practice, but I also observe my colleagues putting their critical thinking skills to use in their every day clinical practice. One example of critical thinking skills being used in ICU clinical practice is when multiple drips are being titrated on a patient that is extremely ill. As an ICU nurse, it is essential and vital that you utilize critical thinking skills when choosing which drip to titrate up or down or which drip to start or stop. Another instance where I have observed critical thinking skills being used in the ICU is when I would attend a rapid response on one of the medical floors. As the critical care nurse, I must use my critical thinking skills to choose the right lab tests to run, determine what might be going on with the patient that is in distress, and choose the right treatment pathway.
I try to improve my clinical competence in every way I can, especially by employing my critical thinking strategies. Some of the strategies I use most often include listening, continuing to learn every chance I get, and explaining to my colleagues why I came to a specific conclusion. I use the strategy of listening to improve my clinical competence because it helps me find new solutions to everyday problems that I might face in the ICU. Learning helps improve my clinical competence because it makes me a better ICU nurse. The more I learn, the more proficient I can become. I like to explain my rationale for the conclusion I came to because another colleague might have something important to add that would aid in solving the problem at hand.
Clinical scholarship is defined as an approach that enables evidence-based nursing and the development of best practices to meet the needs of clients efficiently and effectively (Stanley et al., 1999).
Critical thinking is defined as the objective analysis and evaluation of an issue in order to form a judgment (Benner, Hughes, & Stuphen, 2008, p. [Page 120]).
Clinical practice is defined as either the field of principal professional clinical activity (Wilkes, Mannix, & Jackson, 2013).
After reviewing the definitions of clinical scholarship, critical thinking, and clinical practice I was able to see how each term is interconnected. In order to have a clinical scholarship like approach in clinical practice, it is essential that critical thinking tools be utilized. The development of the best practices in clinical nursing practice will not occur if there is no critical thinking involved in the process (Wilkes, Mannix, & Jackson, 2013).
These three terms should be looked at as a single unit; one cannot exist without the other.
Benner, P., Hughes, R. G., & Stuphen, M. (2008). Patient Safety and Quality: An
Evidence-Based Handbook for Nurses.Rockville, MD.
Stanley, J., PhD, Keating, S. B., EdD, Edwardson, S., PhD, Easley, C. E., PhD, Alichnie,
C., PhD, & Edwards, J., PhD. (1999, March 15). Defining Scholarship for the
Discipline of Nursing. Retrieved December 31, 2018, from
Wilkes, L., Mannix, J., & Jackson, D. (2013). Practicing nurses perspectives of clinical
scholarship: a qualitative study. BMC nursing, 12(1), 21. doi:10.1186/1472-6955-
Expert Solution Preview
The ability to apply critical thinking skills in clinical practice is essential for healthcare professionals, especially in high-pressure situations such as the ICU. Critical thinking involves objectively analyzing and evaluating issues in order to make informed judgments.
One example of critical thinking skills being used in ICU clinical practice is when multiple intravenous drips need to be titrated for a severely ill patient. In such cases, it is crucial for nurses to utilize critical thinking skills to determine which drip to titrate up or down, or which drip to start or stop. This decision-making process requires careful consideration of the patient’s medical condition, the desired therapeutic effects of each drip, and the potential risks involved.
Another instance where critical thinking skills are employed in the ICU is during a rapid response on a medical floor. As the critical care nurse, one must use critical thinking skills to choose the appropriate laboratory tests, evaluate the underlying cause of the patient’s distress, and determine the most suitable treatment pathway.
Improving clinical competence through critical thinking strategies is a continuous process for healthcare professionals. Some strategies commonly utilized include active listening, ongoing learning, and explaining one’s thinking to colleagues. Active listening helps nurses gain new perspectives and potential solutions to daily challenges in the ICU. Ongoing learning enhances clinical competence by deepening knowledge and skills. Explaining one’s rationale for a specific conclusion to colleagues opens opportunities for valuable input and collaboration in problem-solving.
The interconnectedness of clinical scholarship, critical thinking, and clinical practice is evident. Clinical scholarship entails evidence-based nursing and the development of best practices to efficiently meet client needs. However, this cannot be achieved without the involvement of critical thinking in clinical practice. Critical thinking is essential in generating innovative and effective nursing practices. Therefore, these three terms – clinical scholarship, critical thinking, and clinical practice – should be viewed as a unified entity, as one cannot exist without the others.
In conclusion, critical thinking plays a vital role in the everyday clinical practice of healthcare professionals, particularly in high-pressure environments like the ICU. It enables nurses to make informed decisions and judgments based on objective analysis and evaluation. By employing critical thinking strategies, such as active listening, continuous learning, and explaining one’s thinking to colleagues, healthcare professionals can improve their clinical competence and contribute to the development of best practices in nursing.