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The Critical Thinker and Culture

The Critical Thinker and Culture R. Steve Terry American Sentinel University BSN 43611-A May 30, 2011 Margaret Lowenthal Abstract Using the textbook: Rubenfeld, M. G.

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& Scheffer, B. K. (2010). Critical Thinking Tactics for Nurses: Achieving the IOM Competencies, 2nd Ed. Boston: Jones and Bartlett Publishers. ISBN 978-0-7637-6584 Using the checklist in Box 3-2, reflect on your culture and how it might affect your critical thinking habits of the mind. Then think of someone you work with who comes from a culture different from yours. Think of a patient from a different culture.

How do you think those persons would answer the questions? Introduction: Taken directly from my first paper, “ “. Thinking as a Critical Thinker Critical thinking is something we do every day in our nursing jobs, and yet we don’t put names to the parts and pieces of just what it is we are doing while making those decisions. Reading the first two chapters of our text book has opened my eyes, not only to what I do on a daily basis, but has given me insight on how to breakdown the process of critical thinking into manageable parts, with definitions for each phase.

This breakdown of the process will not only help me in my day-to-day duties but will also help me communicate the process more easily to my peers. Now what would happen to the critical thinker when you add his or her cultural aspects to the way they put together and analyze their information gathered as that critical thinker? Do you think the influences of one’s upbringing may enhance or impair critical thinking in the nursing field? Let’s start out by investigating my culture of youth where I was born into the Appalachian area of West Virginian.

Appalachian Culture Appalachian is a land of high mountains and green forests, abundant springs and rivers, varied plants, animal and bird life. Its Cumberland range is big coal mining country. Its farms are traditionally small operations. The area to which you will be traveling is one of rich history and tradition (Commission on Religion of Appalachia, 1992). Being brought up in West Virginia, I have many memories of a style of living that my grandparents and their parents taught me about.

One of the funniest traditions we have is a distrust of doctors. Where I’m from in South Central, West Virginia, people only go to the hospital to die. It’s my belief that this came about because most people from the hills only made it to the hospital at the last stages of disease so it was felt it was the last place to go before one dies. And this is not just in West Virginia it’s in all the Appalachian area. The geographic boundaries of Appalachia include portions of 13 states, reaching from southern New York to northern Mississippi.

It contains 398 counties in the following states: Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia. West Virginia is the only state that the region completely covers. The region is rural and urban, rich and poor (Frank S. Riddel, ed, 1984). Process of Learning Trust If you had asked me what critical thinking was before today, I would have probably explained in terms that resembled the nursing process, because that is what I have been educated about for eighteen years; but, don’t think it’s been easy for me.

On the contrary, because of my cultural upbringing and the distrust in medicine that has long plagued not only Appalachia but my family as well, it was very difficult in the beginning of my nursing career to learn the subtle truths about creating a “trust” atmosphere between myself and members of my cultural community. According to Rubenfield and Sheffer, “critical thinking is the metaphorical bridge between information and action” (Rubenfield & Scheffer, 2010).

That’s exactly what it has been for me, a bridge to bring trust to members of my community. One of the biggest areas of difference in Appalachia and most other cultural areas is the distrust of anything that is outside of the community (Frank S. Riddel, ed, 1984). I believe as a critical thinker that knowing this has helped me understand how to communicate trust to this community and by knowing first the culture of my community it has helped me discern area’s that I can control and areas that I cannot.

I know to use the habits of confidence and perseverance to reckon with my community to build trust, because these are areas that my culture see’s as important, although they live in present tense at most times, I feel that I can help them understand, “the tomorrow”, if not getting treatment today type of concept. Conclusion Culture is just one of many aspects one must consider before jumping to any conclusions about communication. This is also true about critical thinking. This is why flexibility, open-mindedness and perseverance are such import parts of the Critical Thinking habits of the mind.

Without them we may decide to just give up because we don’t understand why someone may not understand our end goals and why we want to help them. References Commission on Religion in Appalachia, “Economic transformation: The Appalachian Challenge”(Knoxville, TN C. O. R. A. , 1992). Frank S. Riddel, ed. , “Appalachia: Its People, Heritage and Problems” (Dubuque, IA: Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company, 1984), xi. Rubenfeld, M. G. & Scheffer, B. K. (2010). Critical Thinking Tactics for Nurses: Achieving the IOM Competencies, 2nd Ed. Boston: Jones and Bartlett Publishers.