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Clinical Judgment and Nursing Education

The nursing profession suffers from a shortage of well-educated, experienced professionals that can fill a variety of roles. The question of improving teaching and learning methods becomes relevant, as nursing education is still developing. This essay discusses appropriate theoretical and practical approaches for the situation in the present and future.

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Critical Thinking and Skill Acquisition

Christine A. Tanner developed the prevalent theory on clinical judgment. According to Alfaro-Lefevre (2017), a nurse’s traits influence his or her decisions more than the objective data does. In addition, the development of clinical reasoning is driven by reflections on practice, which often result from clinical judgment breakdowns. Therefore, challenging the perceptions of nursing students is critical to the development of their analytical skills. Techniques that could be used in bedside teaching include modeling a doctor-patient relationship during the session and allowing the students to interact with the patient without interfering.

Providing significant numbers of students with appropriately complex tasks is a challenging endeavor. However, it is not impossible if a mentoring system such as the one proposed by Hulton, Sawin, Trimm, Graham, and Powell (2016) is used. A mentor is capable of maintaining detailed profiles on the mentees, providing them with personalized advice, and directing their learning to address weak points and improve their strengths. Furthermore, closer interaction with an experienced professional will raise the overall proficiency of the students, allowing them to develop further in terms of broad knowledge as well as their chosen specialization.

The strategies described above are more difficult to apply to staff nurses. A hospital is not a risk-free learning environment, and workers should only take on tasks they can confidently perform without errors. It is possible to implement a mentoring system between more senior and newer nurses, and whenever a failure occurs, it should be used as a learning opportunity for the people concerned. Furthermore, when a nurse has to deal with a type of case he or she is unfamiliar with, he or she should study the topic for future reference.

Teaching and Learning Philosophy

When I become a nursing educator, I would like to promote diversity in the education of nursing students. A graduate student should be able to competently handle any common ailments and conditions as well as a variety of rarer issues related to his or her specialization. Furthermore, he or she should have sufficient experience with encountering unfamiliar situations to be able to formulate and carry out a care plan quickly. A varied teaching schedule will provide the students with the opportunities to acquire the necessary competencies, improving their quality as specialists.

I believe in a personalized approach to each student and achieving it through close interaction. The mentoring program described by Hulton et al. (2016) has proven effective in improving the quality of education and displayed a variety of positive side effects. Among those is the benefit to the mentors, who mentioned the positive influence of the fresh perspective and ideas submitted by the mentees. The two groups support each other, which leads to mutual improvement and the resulting increase in the quality of both teaching and learning.

I support a learning strategy that is similar to my approach to teaching. I prefer to explore new topics and note the procedures that are used. Different areas tend to involve various methods, and the knowledge of new ideas may be used to implement similar strategies in my field. Nevertheless, I try to maintain a broad and comprehensive knowledge base on my preferred topics and to regularly study the latest developments in the field. I also view every case as an opportunity to learn and attempt to approach it objectively, studying the situation and reviewing my performance afterward.

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Critical thinking and skill acquisition are vital to producing high-quality specialists and should be promoted by nursing education facilities. These values can be achieved through personalized student-teacher interactions, particularly via official mentoring programs. They benefit both participants, and the improved quality of information on a student’s progress can be used to compose an appropriate learning plan that would help to attain his or her goals.


Alfaro-Lefevre, R. (2017). Critical thinking, clinical reasoning and clinical judgment: A practical approach. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier.

Hulton, L. J., Sawin, E. M., Trimm, D., Graham, A., & Powell, N. (2016). An evidence-based nursing faculty mentoring program. International Journal of Nursing Education, 8(1), 41-46.

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