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Community Care Hospice Logo

Community Care Hospice

1669 Rombach Ave.
Wilmington, OH 45177
Phone: 937.382.5400
Fax: 937.383.3898

Ohio's Community Mercy Hospice Logo

Ohio's Community Mercy Hospice

1830 N. Limestone St.
Springfield, OH 45503

Ohio's Hospice at United Church Homes Logo

Ohio's Hospice at United Church Homes

Chapel Hill
12200 Strausser St. NW
Canal Fulton, OH 44614

Ohio's Hospice at United Church Homes Logo

Ohio's Hospice at United Church Homes

200 Timberline Dr. #1212
Marietta, OH 45750

Ohio's Hospice LifeCare Logo

Ohio's Hospice LifeCare

1900 Akron Rd.
Wooster, OH 44691

Ohio's Hospice Loving Care Logo

Ohio's Hospice Loving Care

779 London Ave.
Marysville, OH 43040

Ohio's Hospice of Butler & Warren Counties

Ohio's Hospice of Butler & Warren Counties

5940 Long Meadow Dr.
Middletown, OH 45005

Ohio's Hospice of Dayton Logo

Ohio's Hospice of Dayton

324 Wilmington Ave.
Dayton, OH 45420

Ohio's Hospice of Central Ohio


2269 Cherry Valley Rd.
Newark, OH 43055

Inpatient Care Center

1320 West Main St.
Newark, OH 43055

Ohio's Hospice of Central Ohio at
The Ohio State University
Wexner Medical Center

410 W 10th Ave - 7th Floor
Columbus, OH 43210

Ohio's Hospice of Fayette County Logo

Ohio's Hospice of Fayette County

222 N. Oakland Ave.
Washington Court House, OH 43160

Ohio's Hospice of Miami County Logo

Ohio's Hospice of Miami County

3230 N. Co. Rd. 25A
Troy, OH 45373

Ohio's Hospice of Fayette County Logo

Ohio's Hospice of Morrow County

228 South St.
Mount Gilead, OH 43338

Ohio's Hospice

Ohio's Hospice


7575 Paragon Rd.
Dayton, OH 45459


11013 Montgomery Rd.
Cincinnati, OH 45249

Cultivating Critical Thinking Skills in Nursing

In my reading, a title caught my eye. “Nurses have cited a lack of critical thinking as one of the top five most likely causes of nursing errors” (Journal of Oncology Nursing, 2017). I cannot tell you how many times in my career I have heard similar comments about the lack of and need for the development of critical thinking skills in nursing.

This statement sent me on a review of what new thoughts might be present on the subject of critical thinking. A quick analysis proved that nothing had changed since the original (1982) book by Patricia Benner, “From Novice to Expert: Excellence and Power in Clinical Nursing Practice.” Benner believed critical thinking developed over time and with experience. She defined five levels of nursing development (novice, advanced beginner, competent, proficient, expert.) Buried within the concept are the characteristics of flexibility, willingness to analyze situations, a systematic approach to all decision making, focused problem solving, the capacity to expect and embrace different perceptions, and self-reflection.The overall solution remains the same – strong leadership and mentorship.

As nursing leaders, how do we improve the development of a culture of inquiry and an improved learning environment? Is there room for the success of the “Challenged Thinker” (Papp, 2014) or are they left to be labeled with the long-standing description “lacking critical thinking skills.”  Benner’s work clearly shows the importance and power of mentorship. Organizations with strong mentorship programs in orientation support and develop novice staff. Ongoing mentorship is even more important as challenging caseloads and time to spend in critical conversations becomes challenging. Peer to peer support and ongoing mentorship have been proven to make a difference to the success of nursing staff, as well as to their retention in an organization. A strong plan needs to be ingrained in the organization to continue mentorship toward the role of clinical expert.

Ohio’s Hospice is fortunate to have a strong education department where mentorship is valued and fostered. Mentors are rewarded with both recognition and financial rewards for their time serving as preceptors. A team captain concept helps to develop support after orientation ends. Strong clinical team leaders also support ongoing learning and improved clinical performance. At Ohio’s Hospice, we are always looking for opportunities to grow and support our clinical staff and build clinical competency. I think Benner would be proud of our initiatives and support and embrace our culture where nurses can be inspired to grow, develop their critical thinking skills, and be supported towards excellence.

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Author Profile

Mary Murphy, RN, MS, AOCN, ACHPN
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