Examining Patterns of Change in the Critical Thinking Skills of Graduate Nursing Students

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Abstract

Although critical thinking in undergraduate nursing education has been explored in depth, little is known about the critical thinking skills of graduate nursing students. Prior research on change in critical thinking scores is based primarily on pretest and posttest assessments that provide minimal information about change. This study used individual growth modeling to investigate how critical thinking skills change during a 2-year graduate nurse program. Scores from the evaluation, inference, and analysis subscales of the California Critical Thinking Skills Test comprised the empirical growth record. Change in the three critical thinking skills was more dynamic than that reported in previous studies. Patterns of change differed by critical thinking skill and in relation to students' initial critical thinking skill levels at program entry.

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