Simple Critical Thinking Questions For Nursing

Clinical skills in nursing are obviously important, but critical thinking is at the core of being a good nurse.

Critical thinking skills are very important in the nursing field because they are what you use to prioritize and make key decisions that can save lives. Nurses give critical care 24/7, so the critical thinking skills of nurses can really mean the difference between someone living or dying. These types of skills are important not just for clinical care, but for making important policy decisions.

Critical Thinking for Nurses

For you to become a successful nurse, you will need to learn how a nurse thinks on the job. In nursing school, you will learn how to do an IV, dress a wound and to save lives, but there is more to being a nurse than just having good clinical skills. Standard protocols in nursing will work 99% of the time, but what about that 100th time when they don’t work? That’s when your critical thinking skills can either save or cost a life.

What is different about the thinking of a nurse from an engineer or dentist? Mainly it is how the nurse views the patient and the sorts of problems nurses have to deal with in their work. Thinking like a nurse requires you to think about the entire world and content of nursing, including ideas, theories, and concepts in nursing. It also is important that we better develop our intellects and our skills so that we become highly proficient critical thinkers in nursing.

In nursing, critical thinkers need to be:

  • Precise

  • Complete

  • Logical

  • Accurate

  • Clear

  • Fair

All of these attributes must be true, whether the nurse is talking, speaking or acting. You also need to do these things when you are reading, writing and talking. Always keep these critical thinking attributes in mind in nursing!

Nurses have to get rid of inconsistent, irrelevant and illogical thinking as they think about patient care. Nurses need to use language that will clearly communicate a lot of information that is key to good nursing care. It is important to note that nurses are never focused in irrelevant or trivial information.

Key Critical Thinking Skills

Some skills are more important than others when it comes to critical thinking. Some of these skills are applied in patient care, via the framework known as the Nursing Process. The skills that are most important are:

  • Interpreting – Understanding and explaining the meaning of information, or a particular event.

  • Analyzing – Investigating a course of action, that is based upon data that is objective and subjective.

  • Evaluating – This is how you assess the value of the information that you got. Is the information relevant, reliable and credible? This skill is also needed to determine if outcomes have been fully reached.

Based upon those three skills, the nurse can then use clinical reasoning to determine what the problem is. These decisions have to be based upon sound reasoning:

  • Explaining – Clearly and concisely explaining your conclusions. The nurse needs to be able to give a sound rationale for her answers.

  • Self regulating – You have to monitor your own thinking processes. This means that you must reflect on the process that lead to the conclusion. You should self correct in this process as needed. Be on alert for bias and improper assumptions.

Critical Thinking Pitfalls

Errors that occur in critical thinking in nursing can cause incorrect conclusions. This is particularly dangerous in nursing, because an incorrect conclusion can lead to incorrect clinical actions.

Illogical Processes

Critical thinking can fail when logic is improperly used. One common fallacy is when one uses a circular argument. A nurse could write a nursing diagnosis that reads ‘Coping is ineffective, as can be seen by the inability to cope.’ This just makes the problem into a circle and does not solve it.

Another common illogical thought process is known as ‘appeal to tradition.’ This is what people are doing when they say ‘it’s always been done like this.’ Creative, new approaches are not tried because of tradition.

Logic errors also can happen when a thinking makes generalizations and does not think about the evidence.

Bias

All people have biases. Critical thinkers are able to look at their biases and do not let them compromise their thinking processes.

Biases can complicate patient care. If you think that someone who is alcoholic is a manipulator, you might ignore their complaint that they are anxious or in pain, and miss the signs of delirium tremens.

Closed Minded

Being closed-minded in nursing is dangerous because it ignores other points of view. Also ignored is essential input from other experts, as well as patients and families. This means that fewer clinical options are explored and fewer innovative ideas are used.

So, no matter if you are a public health nurse or a nurse practitioner, you should always keep in mind the importance of critical thinking in the nursing field.

  • 1. 

    What is the "Nursing Process"? Select all that apply

    • A. 

      Organizational framework for the practice of Nursing

    • B. 

      Systematic method by which nurses plan and provide care for patients

    • C. 

      The application of the nursing process only applies to RN's and not LPN's

    • D. 

      The Nursing Scope and Standards of Practice of the ANA outlines the steps of the nursing process

  • 2. 

    Match the Nursing Process on the left with its description on the right 

    • C. Plan and Identify Outcome
  • 3. 

    ANA defines it as a"systematic dynamic process by which the nurse, through interaction with the client, significant others  and health care providers collect and analyzes data about the client

    • A. 

    • B. 

    • C. 

    • D. 

  • 4. 

    Which of the following is not true about Focused ASSESSMENT

    • A. 

      When patient is critically ill or disoriented

    • B. 

      When patient is unable to respond

    • C. 

      Preferably early in the morning before breakfast.

    • D. 

      When drastic changes are happening to a patient.

  • 5. 

    A synonym for significant data that usually demonstrate an unhealthy response. 

    • A. 

    • B. 

    • C. 

    • D. 

  • 6. 

    Headache, itchiness, warmth

    • A. 

    • B. 

    • C. 

    • D. 

  • 7. 

    Secondary Source of Data. (Select all that apply) 

    • A. 

    • B. 

    • C. 

    • D. 

  • 8. 

    Which of the following is not a method of data collection?

    • A. 

    • B. 

    • C. 

    • D. 

  • 9. 

    If the first method of data collection is to conduct an interview, what is the second method?

    • A. 

    • B. 

    • C. 

    • D. 

      Performance of a physical examination

  • 10. 

    After establishing a database and before the identification of nursing diagnosis, what does a nurse do? 

    • A. 

      Documentation of database

    • B. 

    • C. 

    • D. 

      Acquiring a database of information

  • 11. 

    Data Clustering

    • A. 

      Analyzing signs and symptoms

    • B. 

      Identifying patient statements

    • C. 

      Grouping related cues together

    • D. 

      Entering patient data in the computer

  • 12. 

    Deficient Fluid Volume (Select all that apply)

    • A. 

    • B. 

      Dry skin and dry oral mucous

    • C. 

    • D. 

  • 13. 

    Which of the following refers to the definition of a Nursing Problem?

    • A. 

      Nurse overload and nurse burnout

    • B. 

      When the nurse calls in sick

    • C. 

      Any health care condition that requires diagnostic, therapeutic, or educational actions.

    • D. 

  • 14. 

     Clinical judgment

    • A. 

    • B. 

      Job description of a clinical nurse

    • C. 

    • D. 

  • 15. 

    Components of a Nursing Diagnosis. Select all that apply  

    • A. 

      Nursing diagnosis title or label

    • B. 

      Definition of the title or label

    • C. 

    • D. 

      Contributing, etiologic or related factors

    • E. 

  • 16. 

    Which of the following are true regarding nursing diagnosis? 

    • A. 

      A nursing diagnosis is any problem related to the health of a patient

    • B. 

      When writing a nursing diagnosis, place the adjective before the noun modified

    • C. 

      A nursing diagnosis is usually the etiology of the disease

    • D. 

      Both medical and nursing diagnosis can be converted into a nursing intervention.

  • 17. 

    Clear, precise description of a problem 

    • A. 

    • B. 

    • C. 

    • D. 

  • 18. 

    Risk factors

    • A. 

    • B. 

      Analysis of a health issue

    • C. 

    • D. 

      Circumstances that increase the susceptibility of a patient to a problem

  • 19. 

    Clinical cues, signs, symptoms that furnish evidence that the problem exists. 

    • A. 

    • B. 

    • C. 

    • D. 

  • 20. 

    How cues, signs and symptoms identified in patient's assessment are written

    • A. 

    • B. 

    • C. 

    • D. 

  • 21. 

    "Constipation related to insufficient fluid intake manifested by increased abdominal pressure". What is the defining characteristic? 

    • A. 

    • B. 

    • C. 

      Increased abdominal pressure

    • D. 

  • 22. 

    What is RISK NURSING DIAGNOSIS as described by NANDA-I?  Select all that apply

    • A. 

      Human responses to health conditions/life processes that may develop in a vulnerable individual/family

    • B. 

      Describes the symptoms of the disease

    • C. 

      Supported by risk factors that contribute to increased vulnerability

    • D. 

      Proof that the person is suffering from an illness

  • 23. 

    How many parts does a RISK NURSING DIAGNOSIS have?

    • A. 

    • B. 

    • C. 

    • D. 

  • 24. 

    Which of the following is a Risk Nursing Diagnosis statement? 

    • A. 

      Risk for falls related to unstable balance

    • B. 

      Constipated because of fecal impaction

    • C. 

    • D. 

      Constipation related to dehydration

  • 25. 

    Syndrome Nursing Diagnosis

    • A. 

      An isolated disease with numerous symptoms

    • B. 

      Numerous symptoms describing a single disease

    • C. 

      Used when a cluster of actual or risk nursing diagnosis are predicted to be present

    • D. 

      Numerous symptoms leading to an idiopathic disorder

  • 26. 

    Wellness Nursing Diagnosis

    • A. 

    • B. 

    • C. 

      Human responses to levels of good health in an individual, family or community

    • D. 

  • 27. 

    Certain Physiologic complications that nurses monitor to detect their onset or changes in the patient's status.    

    • A. 

    • B. 

    • C. 

    • D. 

  • 28. 

    Potential complications: hypoglycemia.  This is a sample of what?

    • A. 

    • B. 

    • C. 

    • D. 

  • 29. 

    Identification of a disease or condition by a scientific evaluation of physical signs, symptoms, history, laboratory test and procedures. 

    • A. 

    • B. 

    • C. 

    • D. 

  • 30. 

    Difference between Medical and Nursing Diagnoses

    • A. 

      Medical is etiology; Nursing is human response

    • B. 

      Medical is disease; Nursing is the cause of disease

    • C. 

      Medical is illness; Nursing is illness too

    • D. 

      Medical is to heal the disease: Nursing is to discover the disease

  • 31. 

    Difference between a goal statement and an outcome statement

    • A. 

      A good outcome statement is specific to the patient

    • B. 

      Goals are general deadlines that are to be met

    • C. 

      An outcome statement refers to what the nurse will do

    • D. 

      Goals and Statements are practically the same

  • 32. 

    The purpose to which an effort is directed 

    • A. 

    • B. 

    • C. 

    • D. 

  • 33. 

    Which of the following statements describe a well-written patient outcome statement? Select all that apply.  

    • A. 

    • B. 

      Focuses on the completion of nursing interventions

    • C. 

      Does not interfere with the medical care plan

    • D. 

      Includes a time frame for patient reevaluation

  • 34. 

    A common framework that helps guide the prioritization of nursing tasks during the process of planning

    • A. 

      Ericsson's psychosocial development

    • B. 

    • C. 

    • D. 

  • 35. 

    Nursing interventions

    • A. 

      Depend on the tasks delegated by the nursing supervisor

    • B. 

      A sequence of prioritized tasks that describe a nurse's job

    • C. 

      Activities that promote the achievement of the desired patient outcome

    • D. 

      An act of taking care of the sick

  • 36. 

    Which of the following is not a Physician Prescribed intervention?

    • A. 

      Ordering diagnostic tests

    • B. 

    • C. 

    • D. 

      Elevating an edematous leg

  • 37. 

    Which of the following is not a nurse-prescribed intervention?

    • A. 

      Turning the patient every two hours

    • B. 

    • C. 

      Offering a vitamin supplement

    • D. 

      Monitoring a patient for complications

  • 38. 

    Which of the following statements about the nursing process is true. 

    • A. 

      A nursing process is written together with a nursing care plan

    • B. 

      A nursing care plan is a product of the nursing process

    • C. 

      Both the nursing process and the nursing care plan are purely critical thinking strategies

    • D. 

      The nursing process is not an accurate clinical theory

  • 39. 

    IN which of the following scenarios would a standardized nursing care plan be appropriate? 

    • A. 

    • B. 

      Center for infection control

    • C. 

    • D. 

      Maternity floor without a single Cesarean delivery

  • 40. 

    Prioritization of tasks belongs to which phase of the Nursing Process? 

    • A. 

    • B. 

    • C. 

    • D. 

    • E. 

  • 41. 

    Documentation is a vital component of which phase of the nursing process?

    • A. 

    • B. 

    • C. 

    • D. 

    • E. 

  • 42. 

    Validation of patient outcome and goals

    • A. 

    • B. 

    • C. 

    • D. 

  • 43. 

    Evidence based practice

    • A. 

      Past educational knowledge

    • B. 

    • C. 

    • D. 

      Integration of research and clinical experience

  • 44. 

    Which of the following is not considered a standardized language in nursing?

    • A. 

    • B. 

    • C. 

    • D. 

  • 45. 

    Variance

    • A. 

    • B. 

      Patient does not achieve expected outcome

    • C. 

    • D. 

  • 46. 

    Which of the following is not the role of the LPN/LVN in the nursing process?

    • A. 

    • B. 

      Gather further data to confirm problems

    • C. 

      Discuss details of the disease as part of patient education

    • D. 

      Observe and report signficant cues

  • 47. 

    Which of the following are functions of managed care? Select all that apply. 

    • A. 

      Provides control over health care services

    • B. 

      Standardized diagnosis and treatment

    • C. 

    • D. 

      Primary resource for patient advocacy

  • 48. 

    Clinical pathway

    • A. 

      Nursing career development plan

    • B. 

    • C. 

      A concept map for care plans

    • D. 

      Specific location in a healthcare facility

  • 49. 

    A reflective reasoning process that guides a nurse in generating, implementing and evaluating approaches for dealing with client care and professional concerns

    • A. 

    • B. 

    • C. 

    • D. 

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