Critical Thinking in the Operating Room

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Critical Thinking in the Operating Room

Product Code: CTOR

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Critical Thinking in the Operating Room

Shelley Cohen, RN, MSN, CEN

The operating room (OR) is a complex, fast-moving environment, requiring nurses to display their specialized skills across the preoperative, intraoperative, and postoperative setting.

Raise the standard of your OR nurses professional nursing practice and teach clinical care providers how to function at a higher level by developing your nurses’critical thinking abilities.

Build confidence and competence through critical thinking

Critical Thinking in the Operating Room: Skills to Assess, Analyze, and Act is a new easy-to-read resource that explains the principles of critical thinking and how to encourage nurses to use critical thinking methods. This essential book covers how to lead classroom sessions for new graduate nurses and experienced nurses to develop critical thinking skills, including successful classroom processes and learning strategies. It includes learning strategies, worksheets, and handouts to supplement the classroom learning.

Critical Thinking in the Operating Room: Skills to Assess, Analyze, and Act provides strategies for managers and nurse educators to use in developing critical thinking skills during orientation and beyond, and includes tools and resources for ongoing development.

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 a CD with all the book’s valuable and completely customizable resources such as operating room -specific assessment tools, worksheets, and sample questions.


Introduction: Critical thinking in the perioperative 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


Critical Thinking in the Operating Room: Skills to Assess, Analyze, and Act is a must-have for:

  • Chief nursing officers
  • Directors of nursing
  • Nurse managers
  • Nurse educator


  • Describe the characteristics of the perioperative 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 best in patient care. She coauthored the book A Practical Guide to Recruitment and Retention: Skills for Nurse Managers, also published by HCPro.


Polly Gerber Zimmermann, RN, MS, MBA, CEN, has been active in emergency and medical-surgical nursing clinical practice for more than 29 years and in nurse educating for more than 10 years. She is a tenured assistant professor in the department of nursing at the Harry S.Truman College in Chicago.

Karen Gurnick, RN, BSN, has a background in critical care, post anesthesia care, inpatient care, and ambulatory surgery. She is the director of surgical services and respiratory care at Nashoba Valley Medical Center in Ayer, MA.

Faculty Disclosure Statement: HCPro Inc. has confirmed that none of the faculty/presenters or contributors 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: April 2008