The impact of deliberate reflection with WISE-MDTM modules on critical thinking of nurse practitioner students: A prospective, randomized controlled pilot study
Objective: Nurse practitioner (NP) students at our graduate school of nursing use WISE-MDTM simulation modules in the curriculum. This prospective randomized controlled pilot study was undertaken to evaluate critical-thinking outcomes associated with adding metacognitive deliberate-reflection guidance to the learning strategy with WISE-MDTM simulation modules.
Methods: Of 33 NP students randomly assigned to intervention and control groups, 16 completed the study. The intervention group received WISE-MDTM learning modules with specific guidance or deliberate reflection. Controls used the modules with instructions for periodic free-thought reflections. Students’ tape-recorded reflections were categorized according to author-developed critical-thinking categories. Data were analyzed using NVIVOTM. Students’ feedback was collected by post-intervention anonymous survey.
Results: Critical thinking outcomes (student responses to exercises after free-thinking or deliberate-reflection guidance) did not differ between groups. However, the intervention group demonstrated a higher level of critical thought after deliberate-reflection guidance. Post-intervention quantitative and qualitative feedback from both groups endorsed the value of the WISE-MDTM modules for NP education.
Conclusions: Despite no difference in unprompted outcomes between groups, the intervention group often verbalized more thoughtful clinical decision-making. We speculate that the deliberate-reflection guidance intervention utilized with students throughout only two modules was insufficient for them to internalize the critical-thinking process. We propose using free-thought reflections with one or two WISE-MDTM modules to identify struggling students’ clinical decision-making process. These students’ remediation plan could include recording their deliberate-reflection process while viewing WISE-MDTM modules. Students would be guided to verbalize and record their critical-thinking processes for faculty review until students sufficiently integrate the process into their clinical decision-making.