Nursing as well as any other profession is distinguished by the need to apply leadership qualities. Nurses often find themselves in situations when the resolution depends on their own decisions only. Critical thinking as information processing is vastly applied in various life situations and extends beyond studying, penetrating to career life. Critical thinking in nursing is aimed at assessing the patient’s responses to certain medical procedures. It is a process consisting of several stages, including unbiased evaluation of the patient’s state, its organized discussion with colleagues and the final clinical judgment. Knowledge and experience aid here greatly and are indispensable conditions for every professional sphere having human life at stake.
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In medical field the quicker the critical thinking runs, the better. My eight years of medical practice helped me develop rapid reaction and reasoning. For example, a typo in patients’ prescription may lead to the worsening of their conditions when left unnoticed. In the same way, it is not always possible to predict the reaction of a patient to certain medication, and when the effects are opposite of what was initially expected, it is a nurse who must render first aid, keeping in mind all the concomitant diseases, thus being able to refer to the clinical card of a person. A nurse spends more time tending patients, so there is a broader access to various kinds of data. Roughly speaking, nurses may see and notice (even subconsciously) more than doctors do, and then apply this additional knowledge in a critical situation. As a pharmacist, I once was to mix a pharmaceutical preparation with a single decimal point in the wrong place. Of course, if I had closely followed the prescription, a patient might have been treated with an overdose of a medication, which was not lethal, but definitely harming the patient’s state. So, having thought this over, I made a medication with a right dosing for the particular case. Critical thinking helped me make a decision which was based on the given facts inasmuch as on my experience as a pharmacist (for human factor can never be ruled out) and knowledge as a medic.
Nursing is a profession where the academic degree is only the initial step, for obtaining and processing information never stops. Nurses should continuously develop their critical thinking skills in order to reach professional excellence and render more efficient help to the patients.
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