Exploring the impact of a Project 2000 Common Foundation Programme Curriculum upon the critical thinking abilities of a group of student nurses
AbstractCritical thinking is currently a highly valued educational outcome throughout the educational spectrum, but particularly so, in relation to higher and professional education. Nursing education is also embracing the construct critical thinking as a desirable educational outcome, to the extent that, some commentators refer to the importance of critical thinking in nursing as a given. The purpose of this descriptive-illuminative study was to explore and evaluate achievement regarding the development of critical thinking abilities as a specific curricular outcome, and whether they could be identified in the concurrent professional reasoning processes of student nurses. A longitudinal multi-method approach incorporating across-method triangulation in the collection of quantitative and qualitative data have been utilised in order to address the following questions: 1. Does the current institutional Common Foundation Programme facilitate the development of critical thinking ability in student nurses? 2. Can critical thinking be identified in student nurses' concurrent professional reasoning processes? 3. Does student nurses' reasoning change in complexity over the course of the Common Foundation Programme? The majority of previous studies relating to critical thinking in nursing have predominantly utilised psychometric testing instruments in pre and post test or correlational designs. The body of evidence emanating from such designs is currently inconclusive. The main challenge in this study was the development of an alternative method of identifying the existence or degree of critical thinking present in the concurrent verbal reports of student nurses' reasoning. Data collection from a group of student nurses involved the combination of the Watson-Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal (1991) test (n=43) and a researcher developed think aloud technique incorporating a videotaped client simulation, a cognitive task and stimulated recall strategy (n=12). Findings indicate no significant differences in pre (51.3, SD 7.7) and post programme (51.6, SD 7.3) Watson-Glaser mean scores. With regard to the think aloud technique evidence of critical thinking abilities, the sample consistently displayed evidence of reasoning that was reflective of an absolutist epistemology. In instances where more complex reasoning was demonstrated there was evidence to suggest that metacognitive strategies may contribute to this. The findings raise interesting challenges to future curriculum development, nursing education and nursing practice.
PublisherUniversity of Wolverhampton
TypeThesis or dissertation
DescriptionA thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements of the University of Wolverhampton for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy
Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/