Critical Thinking 101

Critical Thinking 101

Our mission as healthcare providers and educators is to improve the health and healthcare of those worldwide. In order to support this mission, we must think critically in our everyday work and activities. Critical thinking is defined by Webster as “the objective analysis of facts to form a judgment”.

Many of the decisions we make can become routine or based from our own education and experiences. However, the way we communicate our decisions and the way we care for others requires us to think critically. Critical thinking is not a foundation often taught in traditional educational settings; rather it is something that is often an assumed within our education. This way of thinking and approaching our work and education is crucial to evolving our healthcare system. Critical thinking involves several steps: knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis and taking action. Let’s take a closer look at these steps.

1. Knowledge. The first step in critical thinking is your knowledge of the subject matter and asking the questions of, what is the problem and why does it need to be solved.
2. Comprehension. The second step is to understand the facts surrounding the subject matter and to gather data about the problem.
3. Application. This step involves linking the information you have on the subject matter with all available resources.
4. Analysis. Once all information is gathered, it’s time to look closer for weak and strong points that affect the problem.
5. Synthesis. This step includes finalizing a decision and deciphering how to put this decision into action.
6. Taking Action. The final step in critical thinking is to put your thoughts and planning into action. Taking action should involve steps to achieve the problem’s solution.

Critical thinking is complex thinking that allows us to come to the best decision based on our available facts and reasoning. We can build upon this skill to create new ideas and solutions and advance our healthcare. Let’s go forward and apply critical thinking to our everyday healthcare practices!

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