This review aimed to explore how critical thinking is perceived in previous studies of nursing education, and analyse the obstacles and strategies in teaching and learning critical thinking mentioned in these studies.
This review was based on the following five databases: The British Nursing Index, Ovid Medline, CINAHL, PsycINFO and Scopus.
After the screening process and evaluation through using the Critical Appraisal Skills Programme tool, 17 studies were identified that met the inclusion and quality criteria. The studies were read through several times and analysed through thematic synthesis.
A total of three themes were developed. The first theme, components for critical thinkers, suggests the abilities and attitudes that critical thinkers should have. The other two themes, influential factors of critical thinking in nursing education, and strategies to promote critical thinking, describe the obstacles and strategies in teaching and learning critical thinking.
The 17 studies illustrated that the definition and concept of critical thinking may change from time to time, and hence there is a need to clarify educators' perspective towards critical thinking. There is also a need to evaluate the efficacy of the new strategies mentioned in several selected studies, such as art-based, questioning, cross-cultural nursing experience, and preceptorship. With a better understanding of critical thinking in nursing education, educators and nursing faculty are able to develop better strategies in enhancing critical thinking development in nursing students, in turn preparing them for future clinical practice.
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