COVID19,  Nurse,  Nursing Profession,  Nursing School

More than one right answer – learning critical thinking skills

For the present, the COVID19 virus has students around the world pretty much excluded from in-person, hands-on nursing programs of any sort. Although some classes have been able to carry on with online sessions, these may be even more challenging for some students who struggle with this venue.

Nursing at all levels from CNA to Advanced Practice and Ph.D. programs, is a very different type of learning altogether. All our lives as students there has been basically one right answer for test questions. For example, 2+2=4 in math no matter where you are and what language you speak. Common core and other ridiculous versions may take you through multiple unnecessary steps in an attempt to help you understand it. It translates to all languages and the answer is the same.

More than one right answer???

In nursing courses, however, suddenly students are faced with choices of answers that could all be right. The choice is to find the one that is MOST correct. Out of the typical four possible answers, usually, 2 have at least one component that makes them incorrect, leaving 2 to be deciphered and dissected. Afterward, one will remain. Sometimes it will stand out and other times, it will cause a lot of frustration figuring out the real answer.

more than one right answer
Test score sheet with answers

The purpose of this type of exercise is to teach and ingrain critical thinking skills. In nursing, every decision will require quick and yet critical judgments and actions that can mean life or death for the patient.  You cannot possibly learn everything you’ll need to know in nursing school, but you will graduate with the skills necessary to help you to figure it out and quickly catch on as a preceptor or mentor guides you through your first attempt.

Critical thinking skills in action

When faced with a new situation, you’ll need to assess the patient and the situation and make a plan of action. Your critical thinking skills will be put to the test in figuring out what, why, when and how. Throughout the implementation process, critical thinking will determine if things are working as planned, or if modifications are necessary and then be able to determine outcomes. Of course, you’ll need authorization and guidance from the physician from beginning to end.

Valuable study and exam prep tips

Study tips for nursing programs will be different from those for math or science majors or history, geography and English. In medical science, things are not so black and white. There are many variables to consider. And to complicate things, it’s essential NOT to read into a situation. Here’s a great guide from Premier Nursing Academy. The guide is titled as study tips and exam tips for CNAs, but it can be easily adapted to any level of nursing. Check it out, there are some great study and exam prep tips!