Critical Thinking Skills and Clinical Judgment in Nurse Practitioner Students

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Karen L. Gorton, MSN, RN, MS
School of Nursing, University of Northern Colorado, Greeley, CO

Learning Objective 1: verbalize the relationship between critical thinking skills and clinical judgment in Family Nurse Practitioner Students.

Learning Objective 2: gain understanding of the relationship between nursing experience and critical thinking skills in Family Nurse Practitioner students.

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to add to the body of knowledge related to critical thinking in Nurse Practitioner (NP) students. There is limited information in the area of critical thinking and clinical judgment in NP students. The study explores the relationship between clinical judgment and critical thinking skills in Nurse Practitioner students.

Methods: This is a descriptive correlational design study with a convenience, nonprobability sampling technique. The Nurse Practitioner (NP) students are all enrolled in the last year of advanced practice accredited nursing education programs at the MSN level. The NP students are currently providing direct patient care under the supervision of clinical preceptors. Critical thinking skills are assessed with the California Critical Thinking Skills Test. Clinical judgment is assessed via the following methods: ability of the NP student to correctly formulate a differential diagnosis and provide a correct answer to exam style questions; the scores on the Clinical Decision Making in Nursing Scale; and via preceptor evaluation.

Results: not fully completed yet

Conclusion: not fully understood at the present time.