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Developing Critical Thinking Skills for the NCLEX Exam: A Guide for Nursing Students in Virginia and Washington DC

Understanding Critical Thinking in Nursing

As a nursing student in Virginia or Washington DC, it’s essential to develop critical thinking skills to provide safe and effective patient care. Critical thinking is the process of recognizing problems and questions, gathering evidence, evaluating alternative solutions, and communicating effectively to implement the best solution. Multi-logical thinking goes beyond just memorizing information, requiring you to apply nursing knowledge in practical settings. The National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX) is designed to test a nurse’s ability to critically think and make informed decisions in real-world scenarios.

Tips to Develop Critical Thinking Skills

Challenging Yourself in Class
Rather than just memorizing content, aim to understand the “why” behind what you are learning. This will help you to retain the information in your long-term memory and apply it in real-life situations. Understand the reason behind a disease, its signs and symptoms, and interventions, which will help you retain the information and make informed decisions in real-life scenarios. If you don’t understand the “why,” don’t hesitate to ask your instructor or do additional research. 

  • Repetition
    Repeating information is an important factor in developing critical thinking skills. Simply reading something once is not enough to retain the information in your long-term memory. By repeating information, you can move it from your short-term memory to long-term memory, which will be useful when you are faced with real-life scenarios.
  • Talking About What You’ve Learned
    Talking about what you have learned is also helpful in developing critical thinking skills. After studying, try making a brief outline with keywords and see if you can lecture on the material. If not, it is a sign that you need to study more and understand the information better.
  • Find a Role Model
    Finding a role model is also important in developing critical thinking skills. Observing expert nurses and nursing faculty who critically think can provide you with valuable insights and inspiration.

Illustrating Critical Thinking in Nursing

Let’s take an example to further illustrate the importance of critical thinking. Consider the question, “How does heart failure lead to fluid volume excess?” To answer this question, you must understand what is happening when someone goes into heart failure. When the heart muscle is weak, it cannot pump effectively, resulting in decreased cardiac output and perfusion to the vital organs, including the kidneys. If the perfusion to the kidneys decreases, the urinary output decreases, causing fluid to build up in the vascular space, leading to fluid volume excess. By understanding the “why” behind this process, you can determine the signs and symptoms of left and right-sided heart failure.

The Best Nursing School in Virginia or Washington DC

Additionally, nursing students in Virginia and Washington DC can benefit from attending the reputable Saint Michael College of Allied Health (SMCAH). SMCAH offers a comprehensive nursing program that prepares future nurses to meet the demands of the ever-changing healthcare landscape.

SMCAH’s nursing program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) and provides students with hands-on clinical experiences that help them apply critical thinking skills in real-world scenarios. Students receive personalized attention from experienced faculty members who are experts in their field, helping them to develop the necessary skills to succeed in their careers.

In fact, SMCAH is considered one of the best nursing schools in Virginia and Washington DC, with a high NCLEX pass rate and a reputation for producing highly skilled and competent nurses. As a nursing student in Virginia, attending a top-ranked nursing school like SMCAH can help you stand out in a competitive job market and give you the confidence you need to succeed on the NCLEX and in your future nursing career.

If you’re a student nurse or a future nurse looking to develop your critical thinking skills and succeed on the NCLEX, consider attending a top nursing school like SMCAH. With expert faculty, personalized attention, and hands-on clinical experiences, you’ll be well-prepared to meet the challenges of the nursing profession and provide safe and effective patient care.


Are you ready to develop critical thinking skills for NCLEX? Contact SMCAH today to learn more about our nursing program and how we can help you become a competent and safe nurse.


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