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RH1002: Communication Skills for Health Professionals Guide: Critical Thinking

What is Critical Thinking?

“We cannot solve problems with the same thinking we used when we created them” – Albert Einstein


Source:MedEntry, 2019

Critical thinking is the ability to think is a clear, concise and rational way about what to believe or how to solve problems in a systematic approach, it is thinking where you question, analyse and evaluate information.

Good critical thinking skills identify essential skills and a mindset that provide the ability to analyse information and use that information to integrate diverse sources information and knowledge contribute to effective decision making.

It is used to describe thinking that is purposeful, reasoned, and goal directed – the kind of thinking involved in solving problems, formulating inferences, calculating likelihoods, and making decisions’ (Halpern, 2003).


Halpern, D.F. (2003). Thought and knowledge: An introduction to critical thinking, (4th edn.). Lawrence Erlbaum

Mindsets of Critical Thinkers

View problems as a challenge … always seeks the truth and relies on reason and evidence even if the evidence goes against what is believed

Learn and question ... be sceptical of information, find information that not only supports ideas, but information that contradicts ideas to ensure decisions and beliefs are bias free

Open minded. Be open to new... experiences, ideas, having beliefs challenged, challenging others and respecting others opinions.

Are systematic in their approach to an argument and follow a process to formulate ideas

Are perceptive and can make connections with information and ideas

Critical Thinking Mindmap


Skills of Critical Thinkers

Observational and identification skills - Being capable of observing and identifying a problem and possibly predict problems before they occur

Analysis - The ability to analyse the situation includes knowing what facts, data or information about the problem are important.

Inference - Drawing conclusions about the information and may require you to specific knowledge or experience.

Communication - Communication skills are important when it comes time to explain and discuss issues and solutions with colleagues and other stakeholders.

Problem Solving – To implement the best solution and understand whether or not the solution is working as it relates to the goal.

Identifying biases - Evaluate information objectively as biases can be on both side of an argument

Curiosity – Question what is presented and ask questions

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