Critical thinkers strive to be clear, accurate, precise, logical complete, significant and fair when they listen, speak, read and write. Their thinking is adequate for their intended purpose (Paul, Scriven, Norris & Ennis).All thinking can be examined in light of these standards and as we reflect on the quality of our thinking we begin to recognize when we are being unclear, imprecise, vague or inaccurate.Critical thinking is the disciplined, intellectual process of applying skilful reasoning as a guide to belief or action (Paul, Ennis & Norris).
To become a professional nurse requires that you learn to think like a nurse.
What makes the thinking of a nurse different from a doctor, a dentist or an engineer?
To figure things out we need to enter into the thinking of the other person and then to comprehend as best we can the structure of their thinking. When I read an author I'm trying to figure out what the author is saying; what problem or issue the author is addressing, what point of view or frame of reference he is coming from, what the goal or purpose is of this piece of writing, what evidence, data or facts are being used and what theories, concepts, principles or ideas are involved.
I want to understand the interpretations and claims the author is making and the assumptions that underlie his thinking.
When nurses reason they use these elements of thought to figure out difficult questions and recognize that their thinking could be flawed or limited by lack of in-depth understanding of the problem at issue therefore, they critically monitor their thinking to ensure that their thinking meets the standards for intellectual thought.
In summary, as a critical thinker, I am able to figure out by reading or listening critically what nurse scholars believe about nursing and on what basis nurses act as they practice nursing.
I must value above all else the intellectual traits and habits of thought that critical thinkers possess.
To develop as a critical thinker one must be motivated to develop the attitudes and dispositions of a fair-minded thinker.
Critical inquiry is an important quality for safe practice.
Nurses must pose questions about practice and be willing to attempt to seek answers about practice.