Nurses often employ critical thinking without recognizing that they are using those skills because, for many, the process is an automatic one. As the health care environment becomes more multifaceted and nurses are faced with distinctive patient care situations on a daily basis, critical thinking skills are a must. They have to be excellent and become a routine process that is used. Reflection has been accepted as a tool that nurses can use to enhance critical thinking and evaluate the outcomes of nursing interventions as part of a personal improvement procedure. These tools are appropriate in any nursing setting and are easy to implement. Critical thinking with reflection is a natural forerunner to the evidence-based practice initiatives that are a fundamental part of improved patient care (Pierce, 2007).
4. Using the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Council (ANMC) competency standards for nurses (available at http://www.anmc.org.au) apply these identified benefits.
According to the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Councils competency standards for nursing, critical thinking and analysis is important not only for professional development but for the value of evidence and research for practice as well. An important professional bench-mark consists of reflecting upon practice, feelings and beliefs and the costs that these have for individuals and groups. Reflection helps to identity the relevance of research to improving individual/group health outcomes. It helps to identify problems/issues in nursing practice, which can then be investigated through research.
Reflective practice also allows for the best use of available evidence, nursing expertise and respect for the principles and beliefs of individuals and groups in the provision of nursing care. It uses relevant literature and research findings to improve current practice by reviewing policies, procedures and guidelines based on relevant research.
It also helps to identify and disseminate relevant changes in practice (National Competency Standards for the Registered Nurse, 2006).
As a nurse being able to look back upon a situation and reflect as to what went right and what went wrong is very important. The method of reflective practice allows a person to do this in order to identify what changes need to be made. It then allows for a plan to be developed so that these changes can be implemented. The entire concept centers on the idea that in order to move forward one but look back. This allows for fewer mistakes to be made in the future which results in better quality of care.
National Competency Standards for the Registered Nurse. (2006). Retrieved March 31, 2010,
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Pierce, Patricia M. (2007). Critical Thinking – Reflection as a Tool for Enhancing Critical
Thinking. Retrieved March 31, 2010, from CEUFast Web site:
Using reflective practice as a learning tool in clinical supervision. (2005). Retrieved March 31,
2010, from Naidex Web site: http://www.naidex.co.uk/page.cfm/link=148
What is reflective practice? (2010). Retrieved March 31, 2010, from The Higher Education
Academy Web site: http://www.ukcle.ac.uk/resources/reflection/what.html.