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J Nurs Educ. 1999 Mar;38(3):100-10.

Critical thinking and clinical competence: a study of their relationship in BSN seniors.

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Nursing, Linfield College, Portland, Oregon 97210, USA.


National nursing organizations and nurses in the workplace identify critical thinking skills as essential to competent nursing practice. This study sets out to test the relationship between critical thinking skills and clinical competence because it seems that competent practice depends on critical thinking abilities. This study focuses on one school of nursing's response to the challenge of defining and measuring critical thinking and clinical competence and examining their relationship. An exploratory nonexperimental design was used with a heterogeneous sample consisting of two graduating nursing classes (N = 143). While the group of participants was able to think critically and practice competently according to set standards, there were no statistically significant correlations between critical thinking and clinical competence total scores. One conclusion for these findings is that critical thinking may not emerge as an associated factor with clinical competence until some time after nursing students become practicing nurses.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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