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That comes with experience.“I had a 6-month-old patient who had just had heart surgery.He’d been taken to a treatment room and his mother came to me upset because he had lost his IV and had no pain medication.“I went to the room and could see he was in trouble.
The medical team was still in the fix-it mode, but I suggested that palliative care could make him more comfortable.
They took my suggestion, and it made a complete change in his attitude and behavior.
A parent is with the child every day and is the best source for baseline changes.
Knowing when to listen comes with time and experience.
Having seen it in a patient once before, Thames raised the possibility of an ischemic bowel.“They examined the abdomen, did a bowel resection and saved his life. Nurses say critical thinking defies easy explanation; it’s simply part of who they are and how they do their jobs.
We asked some nurses what it means to think like a nurse.“A nurse has to be able to multitask, to think in several different directions at once. You rule out the worst possibilities first and go from there.
Critical thinking and writing are skills that are not easy to acquire.
In emergencies, the process is seamless and swift — almost as if there’s no thought behind the actions.“Critical thinking means pulling it all together to do what is necessary for the safest and best outcome for your patient,” Thames said.
As nurses assess priorities, some things they know can go to the wayside; others will have a huge, ripple effect.“Taking care of a really sick patient is kind of like [working] a human puzzle,” Thames said.