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Implementing NICU Critical Thinking Programs: One Unit's Experience

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Critical thinking is the hallmark of today's nursing practice environment. Nowhere is this more critical than in the high-tech environment of the NICU. Despite the importance of critical thinking in nursing practice, there is limited information on the process of teaching new NICU nurses to think critically. Based on the principles of adult education, orientation and continuing education for NICU nurses should be goal directed, build on the learner's prior experience, and build in opportunities for active participation, reflection, and experiential learning. This article reviews the principles of adult education and their application to the process of teaching critical thinking in the NICU. One unit's experience of critical thinking education is used to provide concrete examples of how NICU education can be transformed from a traditional didactic methodology to a more dynamic experiential approach.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 2008

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