Critical Thinking and Analysis
Developing critical thinking skills and using those skills to analyze the nursing practices, guidelines and standards provides the individual with the ability and capabilities to advance in a nursing career, helps the individual to assist others in achieving their goals and objectives, and assists the individual in the quest to become a more effective and efficient nurses. One recent study determined that nurses can also benefit from enhanced critical thinking skills "by describing the mental processes, or vigilance, nurses use to differentiate the significant from the non-significant observations made with regard to patients" (Robert, Petersen, 2013, p. 86). If that is true then critical thinking skills can be quite important to the nurse who is seeking to develop a relationship with his or her patients that provides for the optimum recovery through comprehensive observation.
A nurse who understands that thinking through what he or she is observing and then coming to a logical conclusion, is a nurse who likely cares enough to observe what is happening with the patient in the first place. For example, knowing that a patient with certain signs and symptoms will exhibit reactions to treatments or medications either positively or adversely can assist the nurse in ascertaining how those response(s) affect the patient's overall health. In other words, A + B = C. The Crtical Thinking Domain emphasizes the fact that self-evaluation and how the nurse reacts to the consequences of his or her own practice is a strong indicator of how critical thinking and analysis can be beneficial to the nurse. The domain also maintains that the nurse must also recognize that evidence-based practices are implemented and used because they are evidence-based and have a basis in best practices.
When the nurse recognizes that developments in the evidence-based arena can actually be quite useful, the nurse gains an understanding and comprehension that will assist the nurse in applying standards and practices that are effective.
A recent report expounded upon the fact that "reflective journaling has been shown to increase the learner's critical thinking and future application of new knowledge" (Garrity, 2013, p. 118). A statement such as the one that Garrity makes leads one to reflect upon the idea that reflection is a necessary part of learning. Taking a personal experience or event and garnering new information or data from that event is a form of reflection. When the individual reflects upon that new information or data it begins a process that allows for learning from the experience. Reflective thinking should also assist the individual in developing questions that beg to be answered. Reflecting on those answers leads to critical thinking.
Oftentimes the person who is reflecting does so with a bias towards their own value system and it helps the person to develop a core sense of beliefs and values. Reflective thinking also helps the individual recognize that knowledge can be gained in almost every endeavor. It also assists the individual in learning that there is a connection between what is already learned, and what is being added to it via the experience.
Gaining knowledge has always been this author's goal and objective and learning that the practice of reflection can assist in that manner only further excited the author concerning nursing and nursing skills and practices.
My knowledge, feelings and beliefs have developed over time and through a variety of experiences. I can tell that I view things and events in a way that someone without those same experiences views things. I was (and continual to be) influenced by events, people and circumstances. Especially relevant in my lifetime has been the different cultures I have experienced at the various schools I have attended. As one study found "schools can be one of the communities in which a person's identity is storied and can provide a context where preferred stories can be noticed and acknowledged" (German, 2013, p. 77). School has been especially important to me in that I have attended schools that have helped me to shape where I am and what I am becoming. Schools have also assisted me in developing a certain level of competence that I might not otherwise have achieved.
Activity 1.5 and 1.7
Studying the concept of health brought engendered an idea that there is much more to health than can be addressed on either a local national or even global stage. Each of the three areas must interact in order for the concept of global economy also comes the advent of global health.
Imports, exports, convenient travel and the personal interactions on a global scale help to define a global health scenario that looks to be controlled. Integrating the national policies with a global policy takes a conceptualization and vision that brings together the needs and desires of a wide array of cultures and countries. Each country has its own types of problems and most wish to address those problems in their own particular way. Methodologies, treatments, diagnosis and an understanding of exactly what constitutes good health are all interpreted with a national bias. One report states "that health outcomes are being affected significantly by economic and political changes associated with globalization" (Maclean, Maclean, 2008, p. 1) and those are certainly factors to be considered. For example, if for the sake of the population of a poorer country, a richer country must provide health care, should the richer country be required to do so? The question that could be asked would be, since global health is a concern for everyone, shouldn't everyone be concerned?
The concept of good health should also be addressed on the national level and should include indigenous as well as non-indigenous individuals and communities. This is especially true in Australia where "it is well-known that Aboriginal Australians experience poorer health over a range of conditions" (Christou, Thompson, 2013, p. 59). The determinants of global health include the fact that every citizen (as much as possible) should be included or at least offered the opportunity to be included in any type of national (or global) healthcare initiative. The social justice strategies employed to ensure that this takes place are sometimes lacking in the physical facilities necessary to service the needs of the indigenous people that probably need them the very most. Exploring the available literature on the different programs currently available to those indigenous societies would be quite enlightening.
Developing an understanding of just what is needed to address their issues would assist the nursing individual and nursing community in effectively problem-solving in the medical environment.
It is my belief that a health care system should encompass as many individuals and societies as possible in order to promote an environment that allows everyone the opportunity to enjoy good health. My understanding of the Australian healthcare system is that (like any national system) it has its drawbacks, but it also has its advantages. One of its most troubling aspects is that it the healthcare system may be becoming much too costly for many Australian citizens. A recent study determined that "for some individuals, difficulty in accessing bulk-billing services and increasing out-of-pocket costs in Australia limit affordability of health services, including medications" (Walkom, Loxton, Robertson, 2013, p. 2). If this is true, then it would stand to reason that many indigenous societies within Australia will be affected much more than those who are not indigenous. If a national policy is steered towards only helping those citizens that can afford healthcare, and is not effective in helping those that can't, then there is something inherently wrong with that system.
Primary healthcare is probably the most important aspect of nursing and should be taken quite seriously. On an individual basis, most nurses will likely have the greatest influence on the primary care level. It would therefore seem most noteworthy to the individual nurse to dedicate his or her time and efforts in making a difference on the primary care level.
Discussing levels of nursing shows that "about one-half of practices reported having nurse practitioners or physician assistants" (Peikes, Reid, Day, Cornwell, Dalem, Baron, Brown, Shapiro, 2014, p. 147) which also displays the importance of nursing to many physicians. It is likely that the trust and confidence that most physicians place on their nurse assistants and nurses is a trust and confidence that is well-placed. Developing the skills necessary to rate that trust should be a goal and objective of every nurse and nursing student.
Bozorgmehr, K.; Bruchhausen, W.; Hein, W.; Knipper, M.; Korte, R.; Razum, O.; Tinnemann,…
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