From the desk of Adrianne Avillion, DEd, RN

Staff Development Weekly: Insight on Evidence-Based Practice in Education, August 13, 2010

Editor's note: This feature is written by nursing staff development expert Adrianne Avillion. Each week, Adrianne writes about an important issue in the area of staff development or answers reader questions. If you have a question for Adrianne, e-mail her at

Q: Developing critical-thinking skills is an issue for new nurses. How can preceptors work on enhancing critical thinking when they have so much else to cover?

A: Preceptors can hold short training sessions that focus on critical-thinking skills. Pamela Schubert Bob, MHA, RN, CPN, NE-BC, a nurse manager at Children's Hospital Boston, came up with a quick, innovative way to help new nurses develop critical thinking:

Bob trained her preceptors to provide five-minute educational sessions where preceptors asked new nurses specific questions about their patients. For example, if a patient has a history of seizures, the preceptor asks the nurse, "What would you do if your patient had a seizure?" This facilitates critical thinking of the new grad around issues to consider, such as how to position the patient and what kind of equipment should be kept at the bedside. These five-minute sessions have proven to help new nurses consider a variety of options with their patients.

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