Each and every day, nurses all over the world face issues and problems that require them to make the right decision. Although most of the decisions they make during their shifts are mundane and routine, there are occasions where they have to make very fast life-saving decisions. These are the decisions that could have consequences serious enough to affect the patient’s life.
Therefore, it is critical that nurses with post-graduate degrees develop strategies that they can use for decision-making. These strategies will need to utilize several skills, including critical thinking. However, the very first thing they will need to do is understand what critical thinking truly is.
Critical Thinking Defined
The National Council of Critical Thinking came up with a definition for this mental skill in 1987. They defined it as “an intellectual discipline that is the process of skilfully and actively applying, evaluating, synthesizing, and analyzing any information that is gathered through experience, example or observation”.
Graduates of online doctoral nursing programs can sharpen these skills by creating a strategy that will enhance and support the skills. There are some other things that these professionals may also want to consider.
Always Be Proactive
When you anticipate a problem, it is known as being proactive. By being proactive, you may be able to prevent the situation that would require a quick decision in the first place. When working with patients, their status can suddenly change without warning. However, many times the changes are noticeable if you are not only observant but are anticipating they may occur. Nursing is both a science and an art and it is common for nurses to use their ‘sixth sense’ when caring for patients.
Always Stay on Your Game
This simply means that just because you have your nurse practitioner doctorate degree, it does not mean there is nothing else for you to learn. Healthcare is an industry that is dynamic and ever evolving. There are innovative technologies and changes in science being introduced all of the time. It is your job, as a medical professional, to stay updated on these changes whether there are new therapies, developments, or changes in care.
You can take continuing education courses, join a professional nursing organization, or obtain additional certification. You can then take the knowledge you have learned and apply it to situations you are not familiar with. That is the type of experience you will need if you want to sharpen your decision-making and critical-thinking skills.
Do Not Be Afraid to Ask Questions
Many times, nurses, doctors and other medical professionals will not ask questions because they allow their egos to get in the way. They are fearful their colleagues will not look at them favorably. However, the only stupid question is the one that you never ask. When you lack the knowledge you need and are too afraid to ask, you are jeopardizing the health of your patient. Anytime you are unsure, ask someone.
To be a great critical thinker, you must be open to reflection and change. As a nurse, you have dedicated your professional life to the ones you serve. This means that you must be open to continuously improve yourself.