Strategy #1: Handwritten template
According to Lee, Schull, & Ward-Smith (2016), critical thinking skills cannot be obtained overnight. The definition of critical thinking is utilizing analysis that remains objective in nature to evaluate a circumstance in order to form a judgment. Furthermore, obtaining critical thinking skills is a process in which a person must be continuously exposed to different situations to enhance the growth of critical thinking skills. This means critical thinking skills must be developed over time and are not necessarily acquired immediately. With the understanding that critical thinking skills must be developed over time, nursing schools should implement more critical thinking strategies to strengthen this skill in order to improve proper decision making as a new nurse.
According to Lee, Schull, & Ward-Smith (2016), having critical thinking skills is an essential part of nursing. Educators can facilitate the learning and development of critical thinking skills for the students throughout the nursing program based on certain teaching strategies. Most of the success of improving critical thinking skills involves incorporating higher-level thinking activities in the classroom to enhance the learning such as pre-class work to enable students to be prepared prior to coming into class. Some researchers may view this as flipping the classroom (Lindemulder, 2018).
Notably, nursing students are required to develop critical thinking skills early in the nursing program. Unfortunately, many students are not able to make these critical nursing judgments due to many reasons. One of the main reasons why students may not be able to utilize the skills needed is because of the lack of comprehension of the readings (Collins, Lindström, & Compton, 2018).
Most of the entry-level nursing students are from high school and are not challenged to synthesize nursing-related readings appropriately in order to comprehend the information in the textbooks (Lee, Schull, & Ward-Smith, 2016). Therefore, when entry-level nursing students begin the nursing program, they tend to struggle with readings that assist them with gaining knowledge for critical thinking.
Undergraduate, entry-level nursing students often lack reading synthesization when first starting the nursing program. Many are accepted into the program directly from high school, so they have not developed critical reading skills. It is known high schools teach in a passive learning environment and students are not forced to do required learning (Lee, Schull, & Ward-Smith, 2016). Although teachers cannot force students to read in order to enhance their learning, it should be recognized that students come to the program often overwhelmed due to the sudden shift in instruction delivery. Therefore it is imperative to assist students with synthesizing the information in an appropriate manner in order for them to utilize critical thinking skills needed for the nursing profession (Collins, Lindström, & Compton, 2018). One method to address this concern is by creating templates for the readings. The templates contain pertinent information regarding the content that must be learned.
This participatory action research for individual teacher research is to determine if a formative assessment technique actually assists students with synthesizing the readings to enhance their learning and comprehension of material. This formative assessment comes in the form of a template. We can call this template a medical surgical nursing template for nursing students. The template has six small boxes on one page to address the readings highlights. The information placed in these boxes must not exceed the box space and must be transcribed into their own words. This ultimately may assist the student with synthesizing the information read. It allows students to focus on pertinent information that will guide their purposeful readings. The templates must be handwritten in order to maintain academic integrity. Additionally, the handwritten written portion will address the kinesthetic learner. By reading, the visual learner may be addressed. There are other ways to incorporate the learning styles, but these were just a couple of examples to keep the student in the holistic mind-frame (Casey, O' Leary, & Coghlan, 2018).