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Objective Measurement of Critical-Thinking Ability in Registered Nurse Applicants

Ryan, Christina MSN, RN, CPN; Tatum, Kathy MBA, RN

Journal of Nursing Administration: February 2012 - Volume 42 - Issue 2 - p 89–94
doi: 10.1097/NNA.0b013e318243360b

This first part of a 2-phase study examined the relationship between general pediatric nursing knowledge, critical thinking (CT) ability of newly hired nurse, as determined by a custom Health Education System Inc exam and the length of orientation necessary to meet the required clinical competencies. A descriptive correlational study design was used to administer the customized computer-based examination to 98 nurses at the beginning of employment at a large pediatric healthcare organization. The examination results were statistically significant in the determination of CT ability and a correlation to the ability to provide clinically competent patient care. The custom examination provided an objective measurement of CT ability in the nurse’s specific domain of knowledge.

Author Affiliations: Nurse Researcher (Ms Ryan), Nurse Manager (Ms Tatum), Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Georgia.

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Funding was provided by the Department of Staff Development, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.

Correspondence: Ms Ryan, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, 1920 Briarcliff Road, Suite 372, Atlanta, GA 30329 (

© 2012 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.