Nurses must be talented critical thinkers to cope with the challenges related to the ever-changing health care system, population trends, and extended role expectations. Several countries now recognize critical thinking skills (CTS) as an expected outcome of nursing education programs. Critical thinking has been defined in multiple ways by philosophers, critical thinking experts, and educators. Nursing experts conceptualize critical thinking as a process involving cognitive and affective domains of reasoning. Nurse educators are often challenged with teaching and measuring CTS because of their latent nature and the lack of a uniform definition of the concept. In this review of the critical thinking literature, we examine various definitions, identify a set of constructs that define critical thinking, and suggest a conceptual framework on which to base a self-assessment scale for measuring CTS.
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