When thinking critically, a person will do the following: Critical thinking requires going beyond basic problem solving into a realm of inquisitive exploration, looking for all relevant factors that affect the issue, and being an “out-of-the-box” thinker.
It includes questioning all findings until a comprehensive picture emerges that explains the phenomenon, possible solutions, and creative methods for proceeding.
Decisions about what to do and how to do it are then developed into a plan of action.
Fonteyn (1998) identified 12 predominant thinking strategies used by nurses, regardless of their area of clinical practice: Recognizing a pattern These thought processes are consistent with the characteristics of critical thinking and cognitive activities discussed earlier.
Critical thinking and critical thinkers have distinctive characteristics.
As indicated in the above definition, critical thinking is a conscious, outcome-oriented activity; it is purposeful and intentional.
Nursing practice in today’s society mandates the use of high-level critical thinking skills within the nursing process.
Critical thinking enhances clinical decision making, helping to identify patient needs and to determine the best nursing actions that will assist the patient in meeting those needs.
The nurse interacts with the patient, family, and other health care providers in the process of providing appropriate, individualized nursing care.
The culture, attitude, and thought processes of the nurse, the patient, and others will affect the critical thinking process from the data-gathering stage through the decision-making stage; therefore, aspects of the nurse-patient interaction must be considered.