Critical Thinking in the Emergency Department

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Critical Thinking in the Emergency Department

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Critical Thinking in the Emergency Department

Skills to Assess, Analyze, and Act

Shelley Cohen, RN, MSN, CEN

Give your new grads and experienced nurses the confidence and skills they need to be intellectually logical, to think independently, and to display high levels of critical thinking.

The ability to think critically is crucial to patient care, and reducing medical errors. And critical thinking skills are a hot-button issue right now. Managers and educators are looking for new ways to teach these valuable skills to their staff.

Build confidence and competence through critical thinking!

Critical Thinking in the Emergency Department: Skills to Assess, Analyze, and Act is an easy-to-read resource that explains the principles behind critical thinking and how to encourage nurses to use critical thinking methods in the Emergency Department. This essential book provides strategies for managers and nurse educators to use in developing critical thinking skills, as well as tools and resources to use in classroom training sessions.

Critical Thinking in the Emergency Department covers how to lead classroom sessions on developing these skills, including successful classroom processes and learning strategies. Examples of critical thinking skills that can be taught include:

  • Developing prioritization skills
  • Knowing when to call the physician
  • Effective documentation

Benefits for both novice and seasoned professional nurses!

Learn how to develop a culture of critical thinking, from coaching new grads through bad patient outcomes to encouraging experienced nurses by setting expectations.

You also get valuable resources such as:

  • Assessment tools
  • Case studies
  • Worksheets
  • Samples questions
  • Classroom handouts


Introduction: Critical thinking in the emergency department
1. Defining critical thinking
2. New graduate nurses and critical thinking
3. The critical thinking classroom
4. Orientation: Bringing critical thinking to the clinical environment
5. Nursing practice that promotes and motivates critical thinking
6. Novice to expert: Setting realistic expectations for critical thinking
7. Applying critical thinking to nursing documentation
8. Relating critical thinking to its higher purpose
9. Resources and tools


  • Describe the characteristics of the emergency department that require good critical-thinking skills
  • Identify key aspects of critical thinking
  • Explain how nurses develop competency in critical thinking
  • Analyze the factors that contribute to new graduates' lack of critical thinking
  • Identify strategies to facilitate critical thinking in new graduates
  • Determine classroom strategies to teach, promote, and support the development of critical thinking
  • Determine ways to evaluate nurses’ progress in critical thinking throughout orientation
  • Develop strategies for the development of critical thinking skills during the orientation process
  • Discuss the role played by managers and educators in promoting environments that support critical thinking
  • Analyze the challenges that both new and experienced nurses face in the incorporation of critical thinking skills in the practice setting
  • Explain interventions to help both new and experienced nurses meet their managers and preceptors expectations for critical thinking
  • Apply critical thinking to nursing documentation



Shelley Cohen, RN, BS, CEN is the founder and president of Health Resources Unlimited, a Tennessee-based healthcare education and consulting company. Through her seminars for nursing professionals, Cohen coaches and educates healthcare workers and leaders across the country to provide the very best in patient care. She is an editorial advisor for Strategies for Nurse Managers, published by HCPro, Inc., and is a frequent contributor to Nursing Management magazine. She also co-authored the book A Practical Guide to Recruitment and Retention: Skills for Nurse Managers.

Faculty Disclosure Statement
HCPro Inc. has confirmed that none of the faculty/presenters, planners, contributors, or their partners/spouses have any relevant financial relationships to disclose related to the content of this educational activity.

Continuing Education:

If you would like to find out about the availability of nursing contact hours on this or any other HCPro nursing book, please visit our Continuing Education information page, here.

Published: September 2006