What does critical thinking mean to me? Through my education and my experiences I think that critical thinking is when you apply that education and experiences and not just think in the present but also think about past events and what could happen because of these actions. I think reasoning and thinking about all aspects of a situation are keys to critical thinking. I also believe that critical thinking is not exactly something someone can teach you about and suddenly you are an expert at it. I believe it takes practice and having a mentor help guide your thinking.
An example of my own person experience with critical thinking is actually today at work. I am currently orientation on an ICU unit and we came on shift being told to hurry to our patients because one of them was on the verge of crashing. When we got to the patients, I realized the one that was declining was a patient who was completely coherent and was alert, non-sedated and was suctioning himself just the day before. We received report and as we watched our monitors to see what happened next, I asked myself what will I do if in the next 30 seconds this patient crashed. What do I need to do to be ready for the worst and what can I do to help decrease the patient from getting to that point. Long story short, we called the physicians and got an order for a specialty bed to help the patient breath better but during this time I had to turn up the patients sedation because coughing needed to be a minimum. Propofol can decrease a persons blood pressure so in preparation for that I consulted with the physician about getting a vasopressor on board to help keep his blood pressure up while we try and keep the patient sedated enough to prevent coughing. This I think is an example of critical thinking, I had to think ahead in the situation and know what propofol can do to blood pressure which could’ve led to my patient crashing if I did not get something else on board.
While I think about critical thinking in nursing practice, I realize that the best nurses are the ones that critically think. We are in a profession that the condition of our patients can change from one moment to another because of our actions. If we are not vigilant and always thinking about what can happen, what we are doing, and what we will do if something goes wrong we can easily hurt a person. I think what interests me the most is that by each experience and by talking with others and asking what others think is most important with this patient we can help build our critically thinking skills. I love that I am in a profession where I have to think about so much and a profession that is evolving all the time.