Analytical thinking is crucial in the nursing profession. Gathering pertinent information, solving unforeseen problems, and using clinical judgment are tasks required every day in nursing practice, and these tasks require a level of analytical thinking.
The need for strong analytical thinking skills in nursing is not reserved for professionals only, nursing students need these skills too. Success in the classroom, during rotations, and on the NCLEX® is significantly tied to a student’s ability to demonstrate proficiency in analytical thinking.
It is incumbent upon nursing programs and the instructors they employ to do more than just distribute information — when we develop critical and analytical thinking skills in our students, we cultivate competencies that lead to clinical success.
The maturation of analytical skills builds student confidence, improves learning capacity, increases the chances of NCLEX success, and ultimately benefits the patients our students will eventually care for.
With thousands of challenging questions designed to develop students’ critical thinking skills, UWorld’s new Learning Platform for Nursing, enables educators to use our clinically-relevant questions and content-rich rationales for instruction, homework, and remediation.
What Is Analytical Thinking?
At its core, analytical thinking is thinking that follows a logical process of eliminating ideas to narrow the range of possibilities to one feasible solution. It is the mental process of taking complex information and breaking it down into fundamental parts to arrive at the right decision.
Analytical thinking and critical thinking vary slightly in that analytical thinking breaks down larger, more complex pieces of information to arrive at a decision, and critical thinking considers outside information and existing complexities to make a judgment.
Both skills — analytical thinking and critical thinking — are essential for practicing nursing in the classroom and at the bedside. The nurse who begins developing his or her analytical and critical thinking skills early in nursing school will have stronger clinical judgment skills when they enter practice.
Why Is Analytical Thinking Crucial for NCLEX Success?
A key to success in nursing, whether you’re a nursing professional or a nursing student, is the ability to assess a situation and first eliminate wrong steps or choices. Knowing what not to do, is often as important as knowing what to do.
The application for students taking the NCLEX-RN® and NCLEX-PN® is obvious: When you can use analytical thinking to discard incorrect answer choices, your chances of answering correctly improve significantly.
When facing a difficult item on the NCLEX-RN or NCLEX-PN exam, the student who can use a logical process, such as the ABCs, to quickly eliminate the wrong options, has an advantage and is more likely to come to the correct conclusion.
Extrapolate that skill into a future nursing career and you find a clinician who is well versed in calmly, methodically, yet quickly making critical decisions accurately.
How Does UWorld’s Learning Platform Develop Analytical Thinking?
The Learning Platform for Nursing is more than a test-prep resource; it is an innovation that utilizes learning tools to increase analytical thinking skills as well as critical thinking skills across your curriculum. It does this in a number of ways . . .
- Assignable Questions and Detailed Explanations
The assignable questions that instructors can task their students to complete — either in the classroom, in groups, or as homework — are written at the application level and higher. When students sit for their NCLEX, they have already spent time developing their analytical thinking skills with these NCLEX-style questions.
The detailed explanations written for every answer choice (whether correct or incorrect) provide the student with the “why” — why this choice was correct, and why these choices were incorrect. This concise yet detailed instruction builds competency in eliminating incorrect answer options on future questions.
- Vivid Illustrations
The high-quality, vivid illustrations that accompany questions and answers in the UWorld QBank are an important part of the learning process that aid in classroom instruction, individual learning, and NCLEX preparation.
This is especially important for visual learners. Not all students process and retain information the same way, and for those who learn visually, illustrations and images not only facilitate learning but also contribute to the development of analytical thinking skills.
- Classroom Presentation
The Classroom Presentation feature is where the instructor and UWorld’s high-quality questions work hand in hand for the betterment of the cohort.
Now, nursing programs can supplement their curriculum with NCLEX-style practice questions that allow the instructor to work through items in the classroom.
As the instructor leads the class in first eliminating wrong answer choices as part of the presentation, students are learning to develop analytical thinking. Tell me which answers are wrong and why? This is a crucial first step in learning and one that instructors can employ in the classroom environment.
In order for your students to succeed in the classroom, during rotations, on the NCLEX, and in future practice, analytical thinking and critical reasoning skills are imperative.
This is crucial for educational and professional success. Analytical thinking allows a person to assess the question or situation and quickly move past incorrect choices.
UWorld’s Learning Platform for Nursing was developed by nursing educators and practicing nurses in a way designed to build critical reasoning and analytical thinking skills. The assignable questions, detailed answer explanations, vivid illustrations and images, and performance tracking do more than just improve a program’s NCLEX-RN or NCLEX-PN pass rates — they build student confidence, increase learning opportunities, and help prepare the next generation of nurses for a safe, accurate, and fulfilling career in nursing. If you have any questions or want to see a personal demo of UWorld’s Learning Platform for Nursing, contact [email protected].