Critical Thinking in the Obstetrics Unit

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Critical Thinking in the Obstetrics Unit

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Critical Thinking in the Obstetrics Unit: Skills to Assess, Analyze, and Act

Shelley Cohen, RN, MSN, CEN

Improve performance, boost confidence, and raise the standard of professional nursing practice through critical thinking.

Nurses must manage complex situations on a daily basis. The ability to think critically is crucial to patient care and to reducing medical errors. Applying the critical thinking process into their daily routines will allow nurses to make effective and safe clinical decisions.

Build confidence and competence through critical thinking

Critical Thinking in the Obstetrics Unit: 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. 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 Obstetrics Unit covers how to lead classroom sessions for new graduates or more experienced nurses, including tips on 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
  • Producing 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 setting expectations for experienced nurses.

Included with the book is a CD-ROM with case studies tailored to the obstetrics unit, assessment tools, worksheets, and classroom handouts. Best of all, you can customize them to fit your specific needs.


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


  • Describe the characteristics of the obstetrics unit that require good critical-thinking skills
  • Identify the key aspects of critical thinking and how nurses develop competency
  • Analyze the factors that contribute to new graduates' lack of critical thinking and strategies to counteract this
  • Utilize the classroom environment to teach, promote, and support the development of critical thinking
  • Identify ways to incorporate critical thinking development into orientation programs and ways to evaluate nurses' progress
  • Discuss the role played by managers and educators in promoting environments that support critical thinking
  • Evaluate the challenges facing new and experienced nurses in incorporating critical thinking skills into practice and strategies to help meet expectations
  • 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