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Critical thinking

02 March 2022
5 min read
Volume 30 · Issue 3


Kate Nash and Debra Sloam explore the benefits of critical thinking and the A-EQUIP model for student midwives

Midwifery practice involves making clinical judgements that influence midwives' decision-making and the subsequent safe care of women and babies. Clinical judgements are shaped by midwives' knowledge and experiences, and form part of decision-making. Understanding how practitioners formulate decisions is an important aspect of both pre- and post-registration midwifery training, as midwives must be accountable and justify care decisions while working in partnership with women and their families (Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), 2018).

Clinical reasoning describes the cognitive processes underpinning decision-making and forms part of the broader philosophical domain of hypothetico-deductive theory (Newell and Simon, 1972; Jefford et al, 2011). This describes how the brain receives, stores and processes information from the environment (Elstein and Bordage, 1988; Mok and Stevens, 2005). Such models are rooted in rational and logical analysis of a situation where knowledge and judgement are made explicit.

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