Ask the expert: Focus on reassessing nurses’ critical thinking skills

Staff Development Weekly: Insight on Evidence-Based Practice in Education, September 25, 2009

This week, Shelley Cohen, RN, BS, CEN, discusses how to keep the focus on critical thinking skills.

Q: How can we focus on long-term assessment of nurses' critical thinking skills?

A: Considering that healthcare is in constant flux, it makes sense to design a process to continually reassess nurses' ability to think critically. You can directly involve staff in this process by:

  • Incorporating critical thinking language and expectations in written documents such as:
    •      Policies and procedures
    •      Employee handbook
    •      Clinical pathways/guidelines
    •      Job descriptions
    •      Performance reviews
  • Having staff review written expectations annually and offer suggestions for change
  • Having staff complete self-assessment sheets
  • Requiring staff present examples during their performance reviews of how they have displayed critical thinking in their patient care


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