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All About Critical Thinking

Critical thinking takes a deeper view on every situation. It entails taking into account all parts of a situation and more. In critical thinking, the individual is required to view the problem in a holistic way, whereby the integrity of a situation is more than the sum of all its parts. As detailed in the person-in-environment classification, critical thinking is a whole to part thinking. This means that one considers the problem as a unit but not as a combination of its parts. Although, since critical thinking requires an open mind, it may at times take the form of part to whole thinking. In evidence based practice, for the conclusion to be made whether the treatment administered was successful, one needs to consider all the factors, i.e. both internal and external, and the whole situation itself (Kirst-Ashman, 2011).

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Evidence Based Practice refers to the integration of the available evidence combined with clinical experience. EBP enables clinicians to address healthcare issues with a qualitative and evaluative approach. Thus, this approach allows clinicians to assess the past and current research and other relevant clinical guidelines. EBP is commonly applied in health centers by clinical social workers. However, the process can also be applied to other situations. Firstly, EBP can be used when making choices regarding diagnostic protocols and process to insure accurate and thorough diagnosis. Secondly, it can also be applied in selecting harm-reduction and preventive programs or interventions. The process also functions in regulating the etiology of an illness or a disorder. EBP helps in determining the progression or course of an illness or a disorder. The process assists in determining the pervasiveness of symptoms, which helps in refining or establishing diagnostic criteria. EBP is also used in completing the economic decisions concerning social services and medical programs. In general, EBP helps medical practitioners in understanding how a patient experiences a disorder or a problem. 

Critically, EBP is not only a social movement but also a science. As far as the macro-level is concerned, the process is used by the policy makers when funding and service delivery. At meso-level, Evidence Based Practice impacts the kind of intervention to be offered by agencies. It also shapes how supervision is undertaken. As a science, EBP establishes an order of research evidence, which is a benefit to experimental research. This surpasses other methods of acquiring knowledge. There are many merits associated with EBP as a science. Firstly, the process has experimental evidence, which helps in decision making. Secondly, its impacts are potentially able to alter how research and practice courses are taught in the social work courses.  The EBP helps in decision making, reshapes social work practice, clients’ lives, social work education and social work practice. Therefore, the process is a science, a social movement and a public idea. EBP ensures that all clients receive the best services. It keeps the knowledge of social workers up to date, saves time, saves lives and increases clinical judgment.

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Person-in-environment is the process in which the social workers try to help clients through engaging them in activities with others and are followed up by assigned social workers. The practice takes into detail four concepts, which are social role in relation to others, social environment, mental health and physical health. Social role concerns what the client does, the client’s standard of living and social status in the society. The social environment comprises of the people with whom the client interacts, and the natural environmental factors. Mental and physical health relates to personal health conditions of the client. According to person-in-environment it is both the external and internal factors that affect an individual. The external environment shapes the conduct, while the internal factors dictate what one does at a particular time depending on the environment.

Person-in-environment classification revolves around environmental factors. It is a model that was developed by clinical officers in an attempt to solve the problem that they had no better model of diagnosing mental disorders. The clinical officers were limited in their usage of the Diagnostic Statistical Manual that was in use by higher rank medical practitioners, the psychiatrists. It originated from Bartlett’s acknowledgement that a person and the environment are meant to interact but not compete. This generates the term person-environment interaction, which was later shortened to person-in-environment. Bartlett also points out that a person’s micro factors and macro factors should interact but not compete bringing out one as superior to the other. As the classification system revolves around these four factors, namely social role in relation to others, social environment, mental health and physical health; this clearly shows the coexistence of the two. An individual is influenced by both the intrinsic and the extrinsic factors. The social role controls ones action and reaction towards situations and directs the individual toward a certain route of conduct. Depending on who a person is in the society, there is an expected code of conduct as well as an expected lifestyle. The social environment also dictates how an individual behaves and responds to situations. The person’s economic status will determine what the person will do, as well as religion, race, academic levels and political status. All these greatly influence the persons reasoning and points of view. The intrinsic factors such as physical and mental health also determine how one reasons. For a mentally impaired person, it will be unexpected to behave rationally unlike in the case of a mentally sober person. Also, for a physically ailing person it will be hard to expect sober judgment contrary to a judgment by a healthy person.

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The person-in-environment (PIE) classification system is important in the healthcare field as it allows health practitioners codify and classify problems in the social functioning. The PIE System helps social workers to understand patients experiencing difficulties with the context of their respective environments, expectations in relation to others, self-perceptions, and their roles.  The classification helps social workers develop sound intervention plans. It is also essential in developing community and agency programs. The classification is also used when working with managed maintenance organizations.

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