Faculty awareness of critical thinking research within collaborative baccalaureate nursing programs in Manitoba, teaching experience is the foundation of critical thinking

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Pawlikewich, Joan C.
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The purpose of this descriptive study was to identify which concepts and strategies faculty perceive as necessary for the development of critical thinking skills in a collaborative baccalaureate nursing program in Manitoba, Canada. With the advent of the collaborative baccalaureate nursing programs, the development of critical thinking abilities has become a major program goal. To reach this goal, faculty moving from traditional programs and those moving from generic programs to new ones, must first scrutinize their perceptions of critical thinking concepts and strategies. The population of the faculty from the hospital-based and the university-based programs was surveyed. An investigator-designed questionnaire was used to collect data. Factor analysis and correlation coefficients were used to test the validity and reliability of the instrument. As well, descriptive statistics and nonparametric analyses of variances were used to summarize and analyze data. Educators in the collaborative baccalaureate nursing programs in Manitoba suggested a rational-linear model for critical thinking balanced by a creative, process driven model. Teaching experience emerged as a significant factor in critical thinking. Previous clinical experience and education were not significant factors in faculty awareness of critical thinking research. Overall, results revealed an inconsistency among educators in their awareness of critical thinking research, especially where contextual and procedural knowledge were concerned. Further, failure of faculty to clearly distinguish among types of learning has major teaching implications. Although the source of faculty awareness cannot be ascertained from this study, the association between teaching experience and critical thinking bears closer scrutiny. Implications of this study, together with recommendations, are suggested for nursing administrators, faculty, board members of post-secondary institutions, and future researchers.