discussion about the critical thinking skills needed by nurse managers, who also must function in a highly complex environment.
Many nurse managers have risen to their current positions based on their competence in a clinical role, without any formal training or experience in leadership and management skills.
Reflection on one’s work is rare although experts advise that it is necessary for professional growth.
So the challenge for nurse leaders is how to promote critical thinking so it becomes integrated into everyday nursing practice. A simple definition of critical thinking is that it is reasonable, reflective thinking focused on deciding what to believe or do.
Without these skills, a manager may fall back on reactive, automatic responses to problems – and miss the opportunity to make changes that are visionary and goal-driven.
In 2010, a group of nurse researchers designed a study that would allow them to measure the effects of a manager’s critical thinking skills on the attitude of the floor nurses that person was managing.Albert Einstein If you talk with any group of nurse leaders, the challenge of promoting critical thinking with their nursing staff will inevitably enter the conversation as a key concern.A nurse leader recently told me about a sentinel incident in her hospital. The frantic pace of healthcare today has led many nurses to become very task oriented as a survival mechanism.They somehow have to learn to think critically about unfamiliar areas like finance, budgeting, staffing, strategic planning, and quality assurance.Without critical thinking skills, nurse managers can’t make day-to-day decisions strategically, with an eye toward advancing the goals of the organization.Judith Ross in a 2009 Harvard Business Review Blog suggested that the most effective questions create value.With the focus today on evidence-based practice, nurse leaders need to promote a culture of inquiry.If you were redesigning care today with a blank slate, what type of delivery system would you develop? To challenge assumptions – What would happen if we fail to take action in view of what is happening with health reform?Do you think that this type of care needs to be delivered in a hospital setting? To create ownership of solutions – Based on your nursing experience, what do you suggest that we do here?What changes would be in the best interest of your patients?How would you deal with the dilemma of the 12 hour?