Critical thinking involves reasoning, in a manner where a person reflects on his or her own thoughts, actions and knowledge. In nursing, it can be applied when creating a concept map. A concept map is a diagram that shows a patient's problems, nursing interventions that can address the problems and the relationship between the two concepts. Applying critical thinking to a concept map helps the nurse see what the patient's needs are, so that she can make the right decisions concerning patient care.

How to Apply Critical Thinking to Concept Map for Nursing

Step 1

Conduct an assessment and gather information. Ask your patient about his current health complaints. Find out about his past health history, perform a physical assessment on him and go through his medical records for any information that may shed more light on his condition, such as laboratory results.

Step 2

Create a concept map. Write down your patients medical diagnosis, then write down health problems or nursing assessment results that affect your patient the most. For example, the medical diagnosis may be heart failure, while a nursing assessment result for this condition could be "activity intolerance." Formulate nursing diagnoses that best describe the problems you discovered from the assessment results.

Step 3

Look for connections between the nursing diagnoses. A nursing diagnosis of "activity intolerance" is related to the nursing diagnosis of "imbalanced nutrition; less than body requirements." Activity intolerance means the patient gets tired after little exertion. Eating is an activity the patient may be too tired to perform as a result of activity intolerance, leading to inadequate nutritional intake, hence the second nursing diagnosis. The connections may show you that one problem is the root cause of some other problems. In this case, you are aware that the same nursing interventions may solve these related issues.

Step 4

Study your concept map. Look at all the nursing diagnoses you have on it that describe your patient's problems. Consider the relationships or connections you discovered earlier when you determined what nursing interventions will best address these problems. Write the interventions next to their corresponding nursing diagnoses. Execute the interventions and evaluate your patient's response to them.