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Assessing Individual Frontline Nurse Critical Thinking

Berkow, Steven JD; Virkstis, Katherine ND; Stewart, Jennifer BA; Aronson, Sarah AB; Donohue, Meghan AB

Journal of Nursing Administration: April 2011 - Volume 41 - Issue 4 - p 168-171
doi: 10.1097/NNA.0b013e3182118528

Enhancing the critical thinking skills of frontline nurses has been a longstanding concern for hospital nursing leaders, but increased complexity of care now lends renewed urgency to this challenge. Rising patient acuity and decreasing length of stay contribute to an environment that challenges even tenured nurses long recognized as strong critical thinkers. To ensure safe patient care in a fast-paced care environment, nurse leaders must invest in more individualized development of key critical-thinking competencies. As part of a broader research initiative on elevating frontline critical thinking, the Nursing Executive Center has developed a diagnostic tool for assessing individual performance on 25 critical thinking skills. The authors discuss the tool's development, methodology, and potential applications.

Author Affiliations: Executive Director (Dr Berkow), Senior Consultant (Dr Virkstis), Practice Manager (Ms Stewart), Consultant (Ms Aronson), Nursing Executive Center, The Advisory Board Company, Washington, District of Columbia; Master's in Public Health Candidate (Ms Donohue), Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia.

Correspondence: Dr Virkstis, The Advisory Board Company,2445 M St NW, Washington, DC 20037 (

© 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.