Use of the Watson-Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal with BSN students.Nurs Health Care Perspect. 1999 Sep-Oct; 20(5):253-5.NH
The complexity and changing nature of nursing today requires proficiency in thinking skills to ensure knowledgeable, confident, creative, and sensitive decisions regarding client care. Nurse educators are faced with the task of promoting educational strategies to develop the abilities of nursing students to think critically in all health care settings (1). However, a lack of consensus on what characterizes critical thinking leads to difficulty in the development of instruments for adequate measurement. It is important to decide on a definition of critical thinking that faculty support and are willing to use in practice. The term is diversely defined in the literature. For example, Alfaro-LeFevre states that critical thinking in nursing "entails purposeful, goal directed thinking; aims to make judgments based on evidence (fact) rather than conjecture (guesswork); is based on principles of science and scientific method; requires strategies that maximize human potential and compensate for problems caused by human nature" (2). The authors of this study use a definition by Paul: "thinking about your thinking while you are thinking in order to make your thinking better, more clear, more accurate, more defensible" (3). The authors believe that the development and/or enhancement of critical thinking ability must be the result of conscious, deliberate activity throughout the nursing program. As the student matures, the ability to think critically will be manifested in decision making that reflects accurate assessment and resolution of problems. The nursing faculty selected an instrument to evaluate the critical thinking abilities of baccalaureate nursing students that had strong reliability and validity documented in the nursing literature: the total and subtest scores of the Watson-Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal (WGCTA), Form A (4). The instrument was deemed to be congruent with the definition of critical thinking supported by the faculty.