Critical thinking is a cognitive process with several attributes. The attributes of critical thinking include the following:
- Confidence: Confidence tends to grow with experience in recognizing strengths and limitations. One example is performing IV cannulations.
- Independent thinking: Independent thinking is essential to improve and expand nursing practice. An example is selecting nursing interventions that are best for the patient.
- Fairness: Fairness involves dealing with a situation justly without being partial or prejudiced—for example, impartial nursing care, regardless of the patient's financial status.
- Responsibility and accountability are needed to conduct activities based on standards of practice.
- Calculated risk: A critical thinker must be willing to take calculated risks to solve problems.
- Discipline: Discipline is needed to follow a systematic approach when making a decision.
- Perseverance: Perseverance aids in achieving the highest level of quality care.
- Creativity: Creativity deals with finding solutions outside the standard routines while still keeping the standards of practice.
- Curiosity: Curiosity is present when there is interest in gaining new knowledge, for example, keeping oneself updated with emerging technologies.
- Integrity: Integrity includes honesty, truthfulness, and willingness to accept mistakes—for example, errors in medication administration.
- Humility: Humility involves accepting limitations in knowledge and skills
In addition, there are three main methods for developing critical thinking. Reflective journaling involves actively reflecting on or recalling an experience to understand its purpose or significance. Meeting with colleagues regularly to discuss and examine work experiences can enable critical thinking. Concept mapping visually highlights the relationship between the patient's problems and interventions.