Critical thinking is difficult to define. There have been many studies on what critical thinking actually is, as well as what techniques are best used to improve critical thinking in nursing. I researched how simulation affects critical thinking as well as what is most often used to enhance critical thinking, like case studies and problem based learning. One word I like that is included on the many definitions of critical thinking is prediction. I feel like good critical thinking enables you to predict outcomes based on what you analyze.
I most appreciate the ability to utilize more experienced nurses critical thinking skills to learn. I find myself asking a lot of questions still as a nurse, but I learn better thinking skills every time I work, mostly from other nurses sharing their expertise. For example, experienced nurses can predict the possible outcomes for a patient who is confused or mentally altered. They know what is typically normal vs. what is concerning. They know what interventions to put in place in advance to prevent adverse events.
What puzzles me the most about critical thinking is the amount of time spent on defining and researching what it even is. I feel like we have over-complicated it. I like to keep things simple.