Critical thinking skills development among the diploma nursing students in a case-based curriculum.
de El-Kantar, Lina Abi Faker.
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Faculty members in many schools of nursing have been urged to include critical thinking in all aspects of the nursing curriculum. The faculty at the Institutes of Nursing in the United Arab Emirates, have adopted in the academic year I998 a case-based curriculum that teaches nursing courses by using case studies, which represent a terrific and non-threatening method to use to teach and learn either critical thinking skills or clinical decision-making (Robinson, 1998; Glendon and Ulrich, 1992, 1997). The development of critical thinking skills in a case-based curriculum was investigated. A randomly selected, cross-sectional sample of nursing students at the Abu Dhabi Institute of Nursing (N= 88) was studied. Three groups (n=30) from each level of a three-level-diploma nursing program were measured for development of critical thinking skills using the Test of Everyday Reasoning (TER). Relationships were investigated between TER scores, the level of the program and other socio-demographic and academic achievement determinants. Critical thinking ability did not change significantly among the three levels during the educational experience in a case-based curriculum; however, the participants in the highest level of the program were able to get a higher mean TER scores from the other two levels. One of the conclusions that could be drawn from this study was that critical thinking might not change as an associated factor with a case-based curriculum at this premature phase of its implementation until some time after the graduates of this program become practicing nurses where clinical decision-making would be in action. The other conclusions focused on the necessity of unfolding the utilized cases in the curriculum and on determining whether the construct of critical thinking has been incorporated in them.