Critical Thinking in Nursing Practices

Photo of author

By nclexnursing

Critical thinking in nursing practices is defined as an ongoing and skillful perception, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation of gathered knowledge via observation, experience, and communication that results in an action decision. Critical thinking and its relevance in everyday clinical nursing practice are commonly discussed in nursing education. Clinical nursing professors are well aware that students who have difficulty making clinical practice decisions. Critical analysis, introductory and concluding justification, valid conclusion, distinguishing facts and opinions, evaluating the credibility of information sources, clarification of concepts, and recognition of conditions are the main critical thinking skills that nursing students should apply during their studies.

Nursing staff uses critical thinking because they have diverse multifaceted knowledge to handle the various situations they experience during their shifts. They still face constant changes in an environment with the constant stress of changing conditions and must make important decisions using critical thinking to collect and interpret information that is required for making a decision.

Critical thinking mixed with creativity refines the outcome, allowing nurses to find specific solutions to specific problems where traditional interventions have failed. Nurses, despite their inventiveness, produce new ideas rapidly, become flexible and natural, come up with unique solutions to issues, work autonomously and confidently, even under duress, and display originality.


Nurses should develop some strategies as well as the cognitive skills needed for analysis, problem-solving, and decision-making as part of their critical thinking efforts. Critical analysis, introduction and ending justification, legitimate conclusion, identifying facts and opinions to judge the reliability of information sources, clarification of concepts, and recognizing conditions are among these capabilities.

Critical analysis is often used to sort thru a collection of questions about an event or concept in order to determine what information and concepts are relevant and what aren’t. It is thus a set of criteria for rationalizing an idea in which one must know all of the questions but only utilize the one that is relevant in this circumstance.

The Socratic Method, in which the question and the answer are sought, is a technique for looking under the surface, recognizing and examining the condition, looking for implications, examining alternative data views, and distinguishing between what one knows and what one merely believes. Nurses should use this strategy at the end of their shifts whether assessing patient history and progress, creating the nursing plan, or discussing a patient’s treatment with coworkers.

Inference and concluding justification are two more critical thinking skills in which the justification for inductive generalizations is generated from a combination of evidence and observations that, when taken together, provide a unique interpretation. The rationale, on the other hand, is derived from the general to the specific. According to this, the nurse begins with an obvious conceptual framework–for example, Maslow’s ranking of needs or a context–and delivers a descriptive interpretation of the patient’s situation in relation to it. As a result, the nurse who uses drawing needs to organize data and identify the patient’s condition in terms of eradication, nourishment, or requirement for protection.


Critical thinkers strive to cultivate the following attitudes and characteristics: independence of thought, fairness, insight into the personal and public spheres, humble intellect, and the ability to postpone crises, spiritual courage, integrity, perseverance, self-confidence, and research interest considerations not only behind feelings and emotions but also behind thoughts and curiosity.

Independence of Thought

Individuals who use critical thinking as they grow older gain knowledge and experiences, and they reassess their ideas in light of new information. The nurses are “open-minded” in terms of diverse intervention strategies and technical skills, rather than sticking to what they were taught in school.


Critical thinkers are self-reliant in many ways, relying on evidence rather than panic or personal or communal biases. The nurse considers the opinions of both the younger and older members of the family.

Perspicacity into Personal and Social Factors

Those who employ critical thinking and acknowledge that their personal preconceptions, social influences, and habits may have a significant impact on their judgment. As a result, whenever they ponder or make a decision, they strive to actively interpret their preconceptions.

Humble Celebration and Deferral Crisis

Humble intellect entails a person’s awareness of his own knowledge’s limitations. As a result, critical thinkers are willing to admit when they don’t know something and believe that what we all assume to be true may not always be so, because new evidence may arise.

Spiritual Courage

Values and beliefs are not always derived from rationality, which refers to thoughts that have been examined and demonstrated and are backed up by facts and evidence. In instances where societal penalties for incompatibility are severe, the courage should stay committed to their new ground. In many situations, the nurses who supported an attitude that investigations should be canceled if they are found to be incorrect.


Despite the difficulties and failures, nurses’ perseverance in discovering appropriate solutions for patient problems and nursing each determination helps to explain concepts and separate linked issues. They resist the impulse to find a quick and simple answer to avoid uncomfortable situations such as perplexity and frustration by employing critical thinking.

Confidence in the Justification

Critical thinking, according to critical thinking, leads to accurate findings through well-motivated reasoning. Nurses who use critical thinking improve both inductive and deductive reasoning skills. As the nurse gains more experience with mental processes and improvement, she is less afraid to disagree and be troubled, therefore serving as a role model for colleagues and encouraging them to acquire critical thinking skills.

Interesting Feelings and Thoughts for Research

Nurses must be able to notice, investigate, inspect, and adjust the emotions that accompany critical thinking. If they are angry, guilty, or frustrated over an event at work, they should take the following steps: Restriction of operations for a time to avoid hasty conclusions and rash decisions, discussion of negative feelings with a trusted person, consumption of some of the energy produced by emotion, such as calisthenics or walking, pondering the situation and determining whether the emotional response is appropriate After the nurse’s overwhelming sentiments have subsided, she will be able to come to the appropriate findings and make the necessary judgments objectively.


The internal dialogue, which keeps in mind the importance of critical thinking, is rife with questions. As a result, a research nurse calculates traditions but is not afraid to question them if their validity and dependability are not proven.


Nurses can work efficiently without engaging in critical thinking during their shifts since many decisions are made out of habit and with little thought. When some fresh ideas or needs are presented, stronger critical thinking skills are used to make a conclusion that is not normal. The nursing process is a method of planning and providing specialized nursing that is methodical and sensible. Assessment, diagnosis, planning, execution, and evaluation are the steps in the nursing process. The healthcare industry is determining the day’s priorities in order to use critical thinking. As he or she uses the criteria and considerations, and as thinking matures, each nurse seeks awareness of reasoning.

Problem Solving

Problem resolution aids knowledge acquisition by obtaining information detailing the nature of the problem and recommending viable solutions, which are evaluated and selected for application without being rejected in the event of an original appeal. In addition, the empirical technique, intuition, research process, and the scientific method modified are frequently utilized while solving difficulties.

Experiential Method

This strategy is primarily employed in-home care nursing interventions where they are unable to work adequately due to insufficient instruments and equipment.


The perception and understanding of concepts without the conscious use of logic is referred to as intuition. Many people believe that as a problem-solving strategy, it is a sort of guessing and thus is an inadequate basis for nursing judgments. Others, on the other hand, consider it as a valid and vital component of the issue earned through knowledge and experience. The practitioner’s clinical experience permits them to distinguish things and standards and come to the correct judgments. Despite the little information, many nurses are able to detect changes in the patient’s health, allowing them to respond sooner. Even though the intuitive way of problem resolution is accepted as part of nursing practice, it is not suggested for novices or students because their cognitive level and clinical experience are insufficient to make a sound conclusion.

Scientifically Modified Method / Research Process

The research technique is a method of issue resolution that is well-defined, reasonable, and systematic. In uncontrolled conditions, health professionals must use a modified version of the scientific method of problem-solving. The nurse evaluates all possible alternatives and chooses the most appropriate solution for each scenario, as critical thinking is vital in all problem-solving procedures.

The Decision

Through critical thinking, the decision is the choice of appropriate activities to achieve the intended goal. When multiple exclusive possibilities are available or when there is a choice of action or not, decisions should be made. When dealing with many patient requirements, the nurse should establish priorities and determine the order in which they assist their patients. As a result, they should: a) consider the benefits and drawbacks of each alternative, b) apply Maslow’s priority demands, c) determine which actions can be outsourced, and d) employ any framework implementation priorities. Nurses, too, make choices in their personal and professional life. Recognition of the objective or purpose, the definition of criteria, calculation of criteria, exploration of other solutions, consideration of alternative solutions, design, implementation, and evaluation outcome are the steps of decision-making that follow.

Contribution of critical thinking in decision making

It takes practice to develop critical thinking and judgment. Critical thinking is not a rare phenomenon, and we should all strive to achieve some level of it in order to solve problems and make wise decisions.

Because nurses change the evaluation criteria of thinking and apply their personal reasoning, it is important that the changing research or application of the Socratic Method or other technique. As a response, people may identify syllogistic errors when they have an understanding of their own reasoning as they apply critical thinking.

Nurses in positions of responsibility should be particularly conscious of the climate of thinking in place and actively establish an environment that inspires and fosters a diversity of viewpoints and research ideas. Nurses will also be used to look at the perspectives of people from various ethnicities, faiths, socioeconomic levels, family systems, and ages. Managing nurses should encourage their colleagues to evaluate the evidence before drawing conclusions and to avoid “group thinking,” which tends to fluctuate without regard for the group’s wishes. Critical thinking is an important part of the nursing practice since it ensures that nurses are safe, efficient, and skilled. Nursing education programs should embrace attitudes that encourage critical thinking and the use of critical reasoning abilities.

Read Practice Exam 2 for the NCLEX-RN