oa Professional Nursing Today - Clinical teaching : developing critical thinking in student nurses : education



Today's healthcare system is more complex than ever before. As a rapidly advancing profession, nursing demands higher-order cognitive skills from nurses, such as critical, creative and reflective thinking, problem-solving and decision-making, as well as the skills to create a therapeutic and caring environment for patients.

In the clinical setting, nurses learn to apply theory that was learned in the classroom, to real life situations. Clinical settings present problems that are novel, complex, specialised, and unpredictable. Nurses have to learn how to practise safely, within the time-constrained periods that are allocated to the clinical settings. The knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary for delivering quality of care, demand that clinical instructors adapt their teaching to a diverse student population, and a variety of patient scenarios. Various factors, including a shortage of nurse educators, limited clinical facilities, decreased acute care admissions, shorter lengths of stay in hospitals, and a shortage of nursing personnel in the clinic facilities, pose challenges to clinical teaching.


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