• The relationships between critical thinking, program outcomes, and NCLEX-RN performance in traditional and accelerated nursing students

      Hoffman, Janice Joyce; Mills, Mary Etta C. (2006)
      Critical thinking is a required outcome for baccalaureate nursing education based upon accreditation requirements of the National League for Nursing Accreditation Commission (NLNAC) and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN). Equally important, however, is the need for registered nurse graduates to demonstrate critical thinking in order to provide safe, competent patient care in the ever-changing and increasingly complex health care system. The purposes of this study was to (1) analyze factors associated with changes in critical thinking changes over the course of a baccalaureate nursing program and (2) identify predictors of program outcomes (RN Assessment scores and first time success on NCLEX-RN). A descriptive correlational analysis of secondary data available from a large baccalaureate nursing program located in an academic teaching center on the east coast was the basis of this research study. The sample included generic nursing students completing either the traditional or accelerated nursing program between May 2004 and May 2005. Instruments used in this study were standardized measures developed by Educational Resources International, Inc., and included the Nurse Entrance Test, Critical Thinking Process Test, and RN Assessment Test. Regression analysis of ERI test scores found the NET Reading Comprehension Scores to be highly predictive of performance on the RN Assessment, and most importantly, first time success on the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). The end of program Critical Thinking Process Test and RN Assessment scores were found to be predictive of first time NCLEX-RN performance. The findings of this study have implications regarding the importance of reading comprehension skills to the success of students enrolled in nursing programs. Additionally, further studies are needed to better clarify measurements of critical thinking, and identify the means by which critical thinking may be enhanced in academic programs.