Master's Theses

Document Type

Thesis - campus only access

Date of Award

Fall 2002

Degree Name

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)




Dr. Karyolyn Kells


Critical thinking is considered an important component of nursing science. As an educational principle critical thinking is based on the philosophy that critical thinking is essential to true autonomy in nursing. However, very few studies were found that involved critical thinking and nursing education. A non-experimental quantitative, descriptive design was used to examine critical thinking ability among three successive groups of graduating associate degree nursing students; to examine the relationship between student scores on two standardized nursing exams; to examine the relationship between student scores on one standardized nursing exam and grade point average; and to examine scores between licensed practical nurses (LPN) with less than one year experience and those with more than one year experience who return to school. Assessment Technologies Incorporated (ATI) Graduate Nurse Comprehensive Predictor (GNCP) and National League for Nursing (NLN) Critical Thinking Test (CTT) and the investigators demographic were used to collect data from 55 nursing students in a rural mid-western associate degree nursing program. Data analysis revealed no significant differences, F (2, 52) = 0.71, p = 0.50, in critical thinking scores existed among the three groups. A statistically significant relationship (r = 0.565, p = 0.008) was found to exist between the GNCP and CIT. A statistically significant relationship (r = 0.584, p = 0.000) was found between scores on the ONCP and grade point average (OPA). A statistically significant difference, t (23) = 2.07, p = 0.04, was found on test scores between LPNs who bridge directly from the practical nursing program and those with more than one year experience as LPNs. A statistically significant difference, t (28) = 2.05, p = 0.01, was found on the post hoc test conducted between LPNs with less than one year experience and LPNs with 1-2 years experience. Findings from this investigation may help nursing educators determine assessment guidelines, help guide curriculum, and suggest future research concerning testing of critical thinking skills using nursing based standardized tests.


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Copyright 2002 Sandra Tabor

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