The impact of the school of nursing curriculum on generic baccalaureate nursing students' ability to think critically at Austin Peay State University

Joe Ann Mallory Burgess, Tennessee State University

Abstract

Curricula in Schools of Nursing are beginning to reflect more criteria that have the potential to enhance students' ability to think critically. The purpose of this causal comparative study was to assess the impact of the Austin Peay State University School of Nursing curriculum on generic baccalaureate nursing students' ability to think critically by administering the Critical Thinking Assessment Test at the entry level of nursing school and at the end of the senior year. The focus of this study was to assess any significant changes in the critical thinking abilities of nursing students from the junior year to the senior year of the nursing program. A secondary purpose and goal of this study was to add to the current research on the critical thinking ability of the baccalaureate nursing student. The exiting Critical Thinking Assessment Test 1 (CTA 1) and Critical Thinking Assessment Test 2 (CTA2) data was retrieved from the students' records in the School of Nursing. ^ The subjects in this study were generic baccalaureate nursing students. The students were junior and senior nursing students enrolled at Austin Peay State University School of Nursing for the Fall Semester of 2000 and 2001, respectively. ^ Demographic data and Critical Thinking Assessment Skills Test I and II scores were retrieved from the students' records. The CTA scores were explored testing five null hypotheses. Descriptive statistics, t-tests and ANOVA tables were run. Significant t-test effects were not found for grade point average (GPA) groups and CTA2 comparisons. Significant effects were found for gender and CTA2 comparisons. The analyses examining the influence of age and military status groups did not reveal any significant differences. ^ The results show that there was an improvement in the critical thinking abilities of junior nursing students after one semester of exposure to the nursing curriculum in the School of Nursing at Austin Peay State University. There was a significant in critical thinking skills abilities of the nursing students. There was also a statistically significant difference for the gender variables, with female nursing students having higher scores in critical thinking abilities than the male nursing students. There was no significant difference found between age, military status, grade point average, and critical thinking abilities. ^ Recommendations for further studies include administering a third assessment test after the students have graduated and are practicing as professional nurses. There should be remediation for those students who did not score well on the Critical Thinking I and Critical Thinking II tests. As the number of male nurses has increased dramatically, the role of critical thinking in men should be examined. The influence of age and military status on critical thinking should be explored as well. ^ The conclusion from the present study was that there is an improvement in critical thinking performance in nursing students at Austin Peay State University from the junior year to the senior year. It is also concluded that the nursing curriculum made a contribution to the increases of critical thinking skills through the education process. Critical thinking ability should be further studied to determine which changes in the curriculum may produce the greatest increase in student learning. ^

Subject Area

Health Sciences, Education|Education, Administration|Health Sciences, Nursing|Education, Higher

Recommended Citation

Joe Ann Mallory Burgess, "The impact of the school of nursing curriculum on generic baccalaureate nursing students' ability to think critically at Austin Peay State University" (2003). ETD Collection for Tennessee State University. Paper AAI3094628.
http://digitalscholarship.tnstate.edu/dissertations/AAI3094628

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