A comparison of critical thinking skills between associate and baccalaureate degree nursing students
Today's challenging health care environment has fostered the need for nurse educators to focus curriculum and teaching strategies on a higher level of critical thinking (CT) for nursing students. Professional nursing requires critical thinking as an important component of practice. Nursing students may have different levels of critical thinking skills in different degree programs. Educators must assure that nursing students are being taught the necessary components of critical thinking. The purpose of this comparative descriptive study is to determine if a difference exists between 25 associate degree and 25 baccalaureate degree nursing students' critical thinking skills. The organizing framework for this study is based on the Scheffer and Rubenfeld's (2000) consensus definition of critical thinking from a Delphi Study with 55 nurse experts. The California Critical Thinking Skills Test will be used to measure critical thinking skills. Permission will be sought from the Ball State University IRB and the participating Schools of Nursing. The study will be voluntary and all data will be anonymous. The study findings will be significant in helping to determine if different curriculum levels influence student's critical thinking skills.