Date of Conferral







Cynthia Fletcher


AbstractNew graduate nurses often lack the clinical decision-making skills that are essential for developing clinical competency. Critical thinking abilities are essential for nursing excellence and professional competency. However, little is known about nurse educators' techniques and teaching practices for developing students’ critical thinking. The purpose of this phenomenological study, guided by constructivist learning theory, was to understand the lived experiences of nurse educators who used critical thinking teaching strategies in a baccalaureate nursing program to develop critical thinking skills in nursing students. Thirteen nurse educators from baccalaureate nursing programs were interviewed using open-ended questions. Interviews were transcribed and manually coded. Three themes emerged after data analysis. First, the nurse educators used a variety of teaching strategies to engage the students in learning, facilitate thinking, increase knowledge, and transfer theory to the clinical setting. Second, the selection for the strategies were based on the situation, student progression in the program, and multiple other factors. Third, participants identified the outcomes of using critical thinking teaching strategies as improved clinical competencies, program and student outcomes. The study results can be used to develop professional activities programs for nurse educators on the use of appropriate teaching strategies to facilitate students’ critical thinking skills which will affect positive social change. Quantitative studies are recommended to examine whether there is a relationship among specific critical thinking teaching strategies, critical thinking skills, and learning outcomes among students in baccalaureate nursing programs