Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

Daniel Robinson


There is widespread agreement on the need for critical thinking abilities in professional nursing. However, there is not agreement on the issues of what constitutes critical thinking and whether or not programs of nursing education further the development of critical thinking. This study reviews the literature on critical thinking in general, as related to nursing practice and education, and measurement or evaluation of critical thinking skills, with the remainder of the dissertation presented in the form of three articles, followed by a general summary and discussion;The first article describes the results of a survey questionnaire of nurse educators in 122 NLN accredited baccalaureate schools of nursing which asked for opinions about critical thinking in nursing and nursing education. Consensus was limited to the need for inclusion of both affective qualities and cognitive abilities in definitions of critical thinking, and the lack of discrimination among problem solving, decision making, or clinical judgment as examples of critical thinking;The second article describes the prevailing practice of 55 NLN accredited baccalaureate schools of nursing with respect to the required outcome criterion of critical thinking. These nursing programs had an accreditation site visit scheduled during the first two academic years the required outcome criterion on critical thinking was used. Content analysis methods were used on the critical thinking portion of the accreditation self study report to describe prevailing critical thinking evaluation practice;The third article proposes a model for evaluating critical thinking. The model addresses the difficulty posed by outcome assessment criteria, the dual focus of evaluating both individual student achievement and program evaluation around the same construct, critical thinking. An accompanying process for implementation of the model includes questions to answer and assumptions to examine as nurse educators develop plans to teach and evaluate the critical thinking abilities of baccalaureate nursing students.



Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

Copyright Owner

Sheila Lea Videbeck



Proquest ID


File Format


File Size

129 pages