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J Prof Nurs. 2013 Nov-Dec;29(6):423-9. doi: 10.1016/j.profnurs.2012.05.006. Epub 2013 Sep 27.

Effect of caring behavior on disposition toward critical thinking of nursing students.

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Assistant Professor, Department of Nursing, Min-Hwei College of Health Care Management, Tainan 73658, Taiwan, ROC. Electronic address:


The purpose of this study was to explore the relationship between caring behavior and the disposition toward critical thinking of nursing students in clinical practice. A structural equation model was used to test the hypothesized relationship between caring behavior and critical thinking skills. Caring is the core of nursing practice, and the disposition toward critical thinking is needed for competent nursing care. In a fast-paced and complex environment, however, "caring" may be lost. Because nursing students will become professional nurses, it is essential to explore their caring behaviors and critical thinking skills and to understand how to improve their critical thinking skills based on their caring behavior. A cross-sectional study was used, with convenience sampling of students who were participating in associate degree nursing programs at 3 colleges of nursing. The following instruments were used: critical thinking disposition inventory Chinese version and caring behaviors scale. The study found that individuals with a higher frequency of caring behaviors had a higher score on critical thinking about nursing practice (β = .44, t = 5.14, P < .001). Specifically, caring behaviors accounted for 19.4% of the variance in students' critical thinking. The findings of this study revealed the importance of caring behavior and its relationship with the disposition toward critical thinking. Thus, it is recommended that nursing education should emphasize a curriculum related to caring behavior to improve the disposition toward critical thinking of nursing students.


Caring behavior; Critical thinking disposition; Nursing students

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