The Essentials of Critical Care Orientation (ECCO) Program's Impact on New Graduate Nurses' Critical Thinking Development

Thursday, 15 July 2010: 9:10 AM

Mahmoud Ali Kaddoura, PhD, CAGS, MSN, BSN, RN
School of Nursing, Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, Boston, MA

Learning Objective 1: explore the perceptions of new graduate nurses of what helped develop their critical thinking throughout their orientation by ECCO, an innovative program used by hospitals.

Learning Objective 2: identify the perceptions of new graduate nurses related to their description of critical thinking, critical care knowledge, application, advantages, and drawbacks of using ECCO program.

The challenge for nurse educators is to promote nurses’ critical thinking (CT) and their ability to function competently in a variety of situations.  Most nursing programs strive to promote CT among nurses. No matter what type of nursing education they received, CT has been one of the core competencies in the professional preparation of nurses who need to think critically for competent, safe, and skillful care. No research studies could be found about the American Association of Critical Care Nurses’ Essentials of Critical Care Orientation (ECCO) program and specifically its effect on the development of nurses’ CT. The purpose of this study was to explore the perceptions of new graduate nurses of what helped develop their CT during their learning by the ECCO program. A convenient non-probability sample of 8 new graduates was selected from a hospital which used ECCO. Data was collected by demographic questionnaires and semi-structured interviews. An exploratory qualitative research method with content analysis was used to analyze the data. Various themes emerged as the participants verbalized their perceptions and experiences. The major themes included multi-perspective thinking, critical care nursing knowledge and its application, advantages, drawbacks, and consequences of using ECCO. The findings revealed that new graduate nurses perceived that they developed CT that improved throughout their orientation although there were some pitfalls in the ECCO program. This study will provide guidance for the future use of innovative teaching strategies to orient new graduate nurses. Based on the observations and perceptions of the participants, it was recommended that the ECCO provide increased opportunities to move learners from being passive receivers of knowledge to become active participants engaged in their learning. 

Kaddoura, M.(2009). New Graduate Nurses’ Perception of Critical 
Thinking Development in Critical Care Nursing Training Programs (Doctoral Dissertation), Simmons College, Boston, MA. Kaddoura, Mahmoud (2009-08-05).