Perceived Barriers to Teaching for Critical Thinking

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The ability to think critically is considered an essential skill of nursing graduates and competent nursing practice. Yet, the literature reports that teachers are having difficulty teaching for critical thinking and that critical thinking is lacking in new nursing graduates. This research study sought to identify barriers to the implementation of critical thinking teaching strategies by nursing faculty currently teaching in generic baccalaureate programs in Tennessee. Surveys were mailed to 262 nursing faculty; 194 were returned, and 175 were usable. Students' attitudes and expectations represented the single greatest barrier to the implementation of critical thinking teaching strategies, followed by time constraints and the perceived need to teach for content coverage. Recommendations to support and encourage faculty to teach for critical thinking are outlined.