Concept mapping: an educational strategy to improve graduate nurses' critical thinking skills during a hospital orientation program

J Contin Educ Nurs. 2008 Mar;39(3):119-26. doi: 10.3928/00220124-20080301-12.


Novice graduate nurses (GNs) are often deficient in the critical thinking skills needed to assess and handle patient problems and life-threatening situations. Concept mapping is an effective teaching strategy for developing critical thinking and clinical decision-making skills. This small descriptive comparison study was undertaken to determine whether concept mapping improved critical thinking skills in GNs during a hospital orientation program. Schuster's (2002) Concept Map Care Plan Evaluation Tool was adapted to measure GNs' critical thinking in concept maps based on case studies at the beginning and end of orientation. A paired t test was computed on pre- and post-mean map scores of 14.071 and 16.428, respectively. Concept mapping was a valuable teaching and evaluation strategy for this group that could be used by nursing educators to improve critical thinking and identify and correct areas of theoretical and clinical deficiency.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Audiovisual Aids*
  • Clinical Competence / standards*
  • Concept Formation
  • Data Interpretation, Statistical
  • Education, Nursing, Continuing / organization & administration*
  • Female
  • Florida
  • Humans
  • Inservice Training / organization & administration
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nursing Assessment
  • Nursing Education Research
  • Nursing Process / organization & administration*
  • Nursing Staff, Hospital / education*
  • Nursing Staff, Hospital / psychology
  • Nursing Theory
  • Problem Solving
  • Program Evaluation
  • Thinking*