Background: The ever-changing and increasingly complex state of knowledge in higher education requires students to develop high-level critical thinking skills. To deal with complex situations encountered in clinical practice, cultivating the critical thinking skills in classroom is particularly important.
Aims: This study aims to examine the experience of students on an innovative life-and-death studies course. This experience is examined in term of the critical thinking skills, critical thinking disposition, and perceived learning.
Methods: A mixed design of quantitative and qualitative approaches was adopted. The 2-year senior college gerontological care program students were recruited. Critical thinking skills and disposition were assessed and compared in an LDS group (n = 36) and a not-LDS group (n = 34) at the beginning and end of semester using a self-report questionnaire. In-depth, focus-group interviews were conducted at end of semester.
Results: No difference between the LDS group and not-LDS group in terms of critical thinking skill (p = .063) and disposition (p= .89), but significant difference in induction skills (p = .008). Focus group interview findings complemented survey findings and revealed themes that reflected the LDS course learning experience of students.
Conclusions: Critical thinking skills can embedded in LDS course to broader and deeper reflection on death-related issues and further construct knowledge by providing rich experience in the course activities. However, emphasis on systematic design for curriculum and faculty development in teaching critical thinking needs to help create links that students may promote engaged thinking activities within their courses.
Journal of nursing education and practice, 6(10), 33-42