Want Your Graduates to Succeed? Teach Them to Think!

Journal Club Article: Caputi, L. J., & Kavanagh, J. M. (2018). Want Your Graduates to Succeed? Teach Them to Think!. Nursing education perspectives39(1), 2-3. [abstract]

Thinkers and Knowledge Workers

This guest editorial discusses the importance and need for the preparation of new graduate nurses for the complex demands of professional practice they are about to enter. The challenge of the “explosion of knowledge, intensify the need to produce graduates able to succeed in the demanding world of healthcare as thinkers and knowledge workers.” 

The power to think in an age of information technology that brings information overload, add to this the increase in healthcare knowledge, research publications and curriculum content overload, the world the graduate nurse now enters is very different with each passing year and academia needs to deliver appropriate education.

Critical Thinking & Reasoning

The transition shock into practice from undergraduate to qualified nurse and the subsequent responsibilities are well known , with the subsequent impact on turnover rates for newly qualified nurses (Duchscher, 2009). Marry all this with increased inpatient acuity yet decreased length of hospital stay, and the healthcare system is a stressful and challenging work environment. Linking quality care delivery with the competency of the nurses is key, with critical thinking and reasoning, essential components of the preparation-practice gap.

Tanner’s Clinical Judgement Model

Academia must use a framework to teach clinical reasoning and clinical judgement such as Tanner’s (2006) 4 Step Approach to Clinical Reasoning:

  1. Noticing
  2. Interpreting
  3. Responding
  4. Reflecting


“The key to new-graduate success and improving patient outcomes might well lie in the way we teach students to think – something to think about.”

KeywordsCritical thinking; Knowledge worker; Reflection; Take the time; Motivation; Think, Think.



Caputi, L. J., & Kavanagh, J. M. (2018). Want Your Graduates to Succeed? Teach Them to Think!. Nursing education perspectives39(1), 2-3. [abstract]

Duchscher, J. E. B. (2009). Transition shock: the initial stage of role adaptation for newly graduated registered nursesJournal of advanced nursing65(5), 1103-1113.

Tanner, C. A. (2006). Thinking like a nurse: A research-based model of clinical judgment in nursingJournal of nursing education45(6).

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