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The relationship between clinical decision-making skills in nursing and general critical thinking abilities of senior nursing students in four types of nursing programs



The relationship between clinical decision-making skills in nursing and general critical thinking abilities of senior nursing students in four types of nursing programs



Journal of Nursing Education 29(9): 391-399



This descriptive study was undertaken to investigate the relationship between clinical decision-making skills in nursing and critical thinking abilities of senior nursing students in four types of nursing education programs: generic baccalaureate, associate, and diploma--the basic RN programs, along with the upper division baccalaureate (specifically RN completion) program. Fifty senior students from each type of program were conveniently selected. Clinical decision-making in nursing was measured by the Nursing Performance Simulation Instrument. General critical thinking abilities were determined by the Watson-Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal. Among the basic RN programs, the higher level of general critical thinking ability was attained by generic baccalaureate seniors (mean score, 61.3) compared with the associate (50.0) and diploma (51.3) seniors. The clinical decision-making scores in nursing skills were virtually identical for the three basic programs--generic (32.2), associate (32.2), and diploma (32.3). That is, mean performance scores of the 2-year associate degree, 3-year diploma, and 4-year generic baccalaureate degree students on the Nursing Performance Simulation Instrument showed no statistically significant difference. The mean critical thinking score for the upper division baccalaureate seniors (61.1) was comparable to that of the generic baccalaureate seniors. Clinical decision-making mean score for the upper division seniors was significantly higher (38.0) than those of the other three groups. A weak though significant positive correlation (r = 0.249) between clinical decision-making and critical thinking across all four types of programs was found.

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Accession: 041732924

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PMID: 2176680


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