Developing Critical Thinking Skills | Page 2

Developing Critical Thinking Skills in New Clinicians


The healthcare industry is facing a convergence of events that make it imperative that we build competency in our new clinicians as quickly as possible . New clinicians have traditionally had the luxury of learning the ropes by working with and observing more experienced co-workers and managers . While this process is effective , it can take years for new nurses to feel competent and employ appropriate critical thinking skills .
Today , we are facing a number of challenges that require us to impart these advanced clinical skills much more quickly and efficiently . For instance :
• Aging Population : America is in the midst of what has been called a “ silver tsunami ”— that is , a rapid increase in the number of U . S . citizens reaching retirement age . According to Census Bureau data , one in every five Americans will be retirement age by the year 2030 . By 2030 , the number of people in the U . S . age 65 and over will hit 73 million , up from 43 million in 2012 . By 2030 , the elderly population will represent 20 % of the total U . S . population .
• More Intense Care : This elderly population requires more medical care ( and more acute medical care ) than the rest of the U . S . population .
• Retiring Nurses : It is estimated that some 55 % of today ’ s nursing workforce is age 55 or older , and more than 1 million registered nurses are predicted to reach retirement age within the next 10 to 15 years . As these seasoned professionals retire , they will leave an “ experience gap ” as new workers struggle to fill their roles .
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