Critical thinking in nursing is a very important component of their professional accountability as well as in ensuring quality nursing care. The changing conditions in nursing, the extent of care demanded by patients require great thinking skills. Critical thinking implies use of information and experience to identify patients’ issues and make clinical judgment and actions directed towards positive patients’ outcomes. Therefore, it is important for nurses to keep changing their thinking skills to meet all the demand in nursing care. This paper looks at “from reviewing to reflection” as a pattern of change in thinking, and how it can be applied by a perioperative nurse.
From Reviewing to Reflection
In nursing, it is important to review the charts, the plans of care, and other documented procedures for the patients. Reviewing is, however, passive and it is important to stop reviewing and move to reflecting on patterns of care, on what we have done, what we could have done better, and what we need to change. Thus, we can improve our on our professional practice as well as on the outcomes of patients care. Nurses need to keep asking themselves how certain interventions will improve outcomes of patient care and reflect on the suggested interventions to see which one will be the best for the patients. It is a responsibility of nurses to stay informed on the current therapies and approaches to patient care so that they can have options to choose from (Rubenfeld & Scheffer, 2006).
Self-reflection is a form of critical thinking that can help in promoting practice competence in nurses. It can be used as a tool for enhancing individual accountability for continued competence among the nurses. It is one of the most solid bases for improving quality practice in nursing. Therefore, nurses need to engage themselves in self-reflection as a progress from reviewing. Self-reflection that aims at enabling the nurses build self-respect, self-confidence and take pride in their performance rather than focusing on criticisms and failures may influence even the nurses to be more active in improving their most essential competencies.
Since it is a pattern of change in thinking, reviewing is as important as reflection as it is an evaluation of what is intended and what has been done. Reviewing can be done with the aid of books, classroom instructions, and the Internet as well as the past experiences. However, after reviewing, nurses need to examine their own experiences so that they can obtain meaning from that experience and this will help in promoting balanced functioning and learning (Aukes et al, 2009).
How to Make this Change in Perioperative Nursing
Perioperative nurses can use “from reviewing to reflection” pattern of change in thinking to improve their clinical reasoning and judgment as reflection will help then in examining any underlying assumptions that could have been made during the operation and be able to think about their validity. From this reflection, the nurse may be able to generate new scientifically based ideas (Benner, Hughes & Sutphen, 2008). Reflection helps the preoperative nurse to think critically and be able to meet the needs of patients within their own context, within the context of uncertainty considering alternatives and this may result in higher quality care for the patients.
For example, preoperative nurse charged with determining the diets for post surgery patient who is able to feed properly may need to change from reviewing the diets on the care plan, which may not be of the patients preference, and reflect on what else could be given to that patient. It would be aimed at promoting faster recovery and quality of care for the patient. Since the diet is formulated on scientific basis, the nurse should be able to reflect on those scientific facts and consider alternatives that are among the patient’s preferences. Therefore, the nurse will change his/her thinking from reviewing the documented diet plans to reflecting on what else can be given, what he/she could have offered that could do better for the patient, and also how to improve the quality of care for that patient.
Reflection can also be used in improving competency of preoperative nurses because reflection involves use of evidence based professional portfolio to assess the ongoing practices and plan for quality improvement (Lenburg, 2000). For example, a preoperative nurse can change the documented plans of care after reviewing them. It can be enabled by reflecting on what can be done better, what needs to be done, and what areas needs improvement. Through scientific research to seek for evidence, the preoperative nurse can make changes through critical thinking and this will improve his/her competency. Ultimately, this improves the quality of care that is given to the patient.
This pattern of change will also enable the preoperative nurses to be part of change in healthcare since life in healthcare is about constant change. Therefore, it is important to ensure that the preoperative nurse is up-to-date with the changes that are taking place in healthcare.
Critical thinking is quite important for preoperative nurses since there is a need to maintain competency and professionalism in their practice. Therefore, a pattern of change from reviewing to reflecting can help to improve this competency and ensure high quality care to the patient. It will also ensure good outcomes for the operation plan of the patient.