Why do nursing schools highlight critical thinking so much? Why is it so important for nursing graduates to develop this skill? Research provides us with various answers to these questions. For one, nursing graduates on their first year discover that working in a health care facility is not as straightforward as that of nursing school – there are no written instructions, no mentors to guide their every move. Moreover, the various changes in health care institutions require nursing graduates the capacity to learn “on the job” and to make time-sensitive decisions without compromising quality of service delivery.
Fresh out of college, with beautiful dreams on how to help their patients, most nursing graduates tend to underestimate the complexity of their chosen career. In fact, many nursing graduates have created ideals by which they want to base their practice on. These ideals are expressed in terms such as the “pursuit of patient-centered holistic care, of high quality care and theoretical knowledge, and of evidence-based care” (Wangensteen, 2010, p. 12). But research shows that reality soon catches up with nursing graduates as they strive gain experience from their practice while at the same time struggling to comply with convert rules, and organizational constraints (Maben, Latter, & Clark, 2007). Most new nurses feel no control over their situation as they strive to find their place in the organization. Hence, it is no wonder that most new nurses describe their first year in practice as a year of “uncertainty and chaos” (Wangensteen, 2010, p. 44). Research shows that whether nursing graduates worked in the hospital or in home care, the experience was the same – first time nurses found it difficult to adjust to their new role because reality was so much more different that what was taught in nursing school. Once working with health care ...
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