Preceptor Preparation Online Course - Advanced

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Essential Competencies of Preceptors: A Focus on Working with APRN Students

Module 4: Facilitating Critical Thinking and Clinical Decision-Making


Critical thinking is an expected competency of the graduate student. While there are many definitions and behaviors associated with this competency, it is important that the nursing faculty, preceptor, and nursing student understand how critical thinking is fostered and evaluated.

Building upon the learning assessment content from Module 2, the preceptor needs to assess the student's current knowledge base about specific diseases and procedures prior to evaluating critical thinking. Implementing structured learning experiences, including the student in clinical interventions, questioning, and providing specific debriefing (feedback), the nursing student's critical thinking can be facilitated.


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Chafee, J. (1994). Thinking critically, (4th ed).Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

Ennis, R.H. (1987). A taxonomy of critical thinking dispositions and abilities. In J.B. Baron & J. J. Sternbery (Eds.), Teaching thinking skills: Theory and practice (pp. 9 - 26). New York: W.H. Freeman.

Jackson, M. (2006). Defining the concept of critical thinking. In M.Jackson, D.D. Ignatavicius, & B. Case (Eds.), Conversations in critical thinking and clinical judgment. Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett. Myrick, F. & Yonge, O. (2002). Preceptor questioning and student critical thinking. Journal of Professional Nursing, 18(3), 176 - 181.

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