Comparison Between Critical Thinking And Clinical Reasoning

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Critical Thinking vs Clinical Reasoning

Critical thinking and clinical reasoning are two terms that are similar in natural and at times have been used inter-changeably throughout nursing literature. However, while there are similarities that can be observed when examining these two terms they are also uniquely different and should be treated as such. While many definitions of critical thinking exist The American Philosophical Association (APA) has defined critical thinking as “purposeful, self-regulatory judgment that uses cognitive tools such as interpretation, analysis, evaluation, inference, and explanation of the evidential, conceptual, methodological, criteriological, or contextual considerations on which judgment is based” (American Philosophical Association, 1990). Much like critical thinking, multiple definitions exist for clinical reasoning. While numerous definitions may indeed exist “a clear and precise” definition has not yet been found within nursing literature (Simmons, 2010, p. 1151). According to Dr. Simmons, clinical reasoning within nursing is defined as “a complex cognitive process that uses formal and informal thinking strategies to gather and analyze patient information, evaluate the significance of this information and weigh alternative actions” (Simmons, 2010, p. 1155). As mentioned above similarities between critical thinking and clinical reasoning exist and quite often the term are used interchangeably within nursing literature (Simmons,
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