• clinical journaling;
  • nursing education;
  • teaching methods;
  • thinking skills

Marchigiano G., Eduljee N. & Harvey K. (2011) Journal of Nursing Management19, 143–152 Developing critical thinking skills from clinical assignments: a pilot study on nursing students’ self-reported perceptions

Aim  Clinical assignments in nursing education provide opportunities for students to develop thinking skills vital to the effective delivery of patient care. The purpose of the present study was to examine students’ perceived levels of confidence for using thinking skills when completing two types of clinical assignments.

Background  Clinical educators and managers are challenged to develop teaching and learning strategies that help students think critically and reflectively and transfer these skills into sound nursing practice.

Method  This study is based on the theoretical framework of critical thinking within the nursing process framework. Undergraduate nursing students (n = 51) completed surveys indicating their confidence in using seven thinking skills for nursing care.

Results  Students indicated significantly more confidence when implementing the journal format as compared with the care plan format when analysing information, determining relevance, making connections, selecting appropriate information, applying relevant knowledge and evaluating outcomes.

Conclusions  The findings of the present study propose a new approach for enhancing students’ thinking skills. Journaling is an effective strategy for enhancing students’ thinking skills.

Implications for Nursing Management  Nursing managers are in key organisational positions for supporting and promoting the use of the journal format and building supportive and collaborative learning environments for students to develop thinking skills for managing patient care.