Mun MS. International Journal of Nursing Practice 2010; 16: 75–80 An analysis of narratives to identify critical thinking contexts in psychiatric clinical practice The development of students' critical thinking abilities is one of the greatest challenges facing contemporary nursing educators. Nursing educators should know about what kind of contents or situations need critical thinking. The research was undertaken to identify the critical thinking contexts that nursing students confront in psychiatric clinical practices. Students were asked to document their everyday experience. The narratives were analysed and interpreted from the philosophical notion of hermeneutics. Four themes emerged as critical thinking contexts: anxiety, conflict, hyper-awareness, dilemmas. Writing narratives appear to provide opportunities for reflection in addition to facilitating critical thinking and communicative skills in students. Also, for the instructor, students' clinical narratives could provide insight to understand how students are thinking and to share student's personal difficulties.