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Nurs Sci Q. 2002 Jul;15(3):184-9.

Critical thinking and nursing science: judgment, or vision?

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  • 1University of North Carolina at Charlotte, 9201 University City Blvd., Charlotte, NC 29922, USA.


For decades, critical thinking has been widely regarded as a concept and process of central importance in the practice of nurses and in their education. Numerous nursing textbooks heavily emphasize the development of critical thinking skills in students. The attention given to critical thinking in nursing parallels a reform movement that has had an impact on virtually all fields. Close attention to the ways in which critical thinking is addressed in nursing, however, reveals a starkly delimited view of its meaning within the discipline. This article questions whether the vision of critical thinking as a cornerstone of practice in nursing may need to be expanded. The discussion centers on three points: nursing theories and frameworks as ways to enrich critical thinking in nursing practice; the inadequacy of the model of critical thinking as an individual, analytical process; and possibilities that are cocreated when critical thinking is conceived as a creative/constructive, relational/dialogical process.

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