A Tool to Measure Nurse Students’ Critical Thinking Competence at Exit of Their Initial Education in Cameroon

Abstract

The American Nurses Association (ANA, 2010) and other nurse associations (South African Nursing Council nd; College of Nursing of Ontario, 2009), established scopes and standards of nursing practice to portray competences nurse students are expected to leave the training with. These standards are all about the nursing process, meaning the nurse ability to think critically. Regrettably, majority of current nursing curricula in Cameroon don’t include specifications regarding expected competences. They are limited just to a list of courses to teach. Such a situation probably explains why nurses in Cameroon don’t feet international standards and lack performance. Again, Cameroon nursing programs essentially assess knowledge and neglect competence assessment. This is because there is no appropriate instrument for that. That is why the goal of this work was to propose a tool to measure nurse students’ critical thinking competence at exit of their initial education. To achieve this goal, 40 nursing experts were purposively and conveniently selected from hospitals and schools. The quantitative design and the survey method were thought suitable. Ethical principles were rigorously observed. The Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) version 19 was used for data analysis. Results showed that, majority of participants had between 36 and 45 years old, with 6-15 years of clinical experience. Many of them teach Medical and Surgical Nursing, Nursing Concepts and Theories or Nursing Foundations for registered or bachelor nurse students. The proposed tool consists of three domains and nine competencies measured with six critical thinking questions. Experts agreed at least at 80% for all domains and competencies, except for documentation (77.5%) and for justification of each formulated nursing diagnosis using its characteristics (75%). The crobach’s alpha coefficient for domains and competencies was 0.70. Experts agreed at 90% on critical questions 2 and 4. They agreed at 85% and at 87.5 on critical questions 5 and 6. The cronbach’s alpha coefficient for the critical thinking questions was very good (0.84).

Keywords: critical thinking competence, initial nursing education, nurse student


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