M. Gaie Rubenfeld, RN, MS-Professor Emerita School of Nursing, Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti, Michigan
Barbara Scheffer, RN, MS, EdD-Professor Emerita, School of Nursing, Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti, Michigan
Professors Gaie Rubenfeld and Barbara Scheffer have worked together since 1986 on projects related to critical thinking in nursing. Coming from different backgrounds, they found themselves together at Eastern Michigan University searching for the best methods to teach nursing process, especially its thinking components. Frustrated with the lack of resources for teaching beginning-level BSN students, they wrote a textbook, Critical Thinking in Nursing: An Interactive Approach. Published by Lippincott in 1995, it was the first textbook on critical thinking aimed at beginning level BSN students. Innovative in its use of active learning exercises, it received the American Journal of Nursing Book of the Year Award in 1995. A second edition of the text was published in 1999. While continuing to work on these and other critical thinking projects, Professor Scheffer, as part of her doctoral studies in educational Leadership, conducted her dissertation research on nurse educators' perceptions of how they articulated their thinking to students and what factors helped or hindered their thinking.
In 1995, Scheffer and Rubenfeld started a Delphi study to find a consensus statement on critical thinking in nursing. That 3-year project provided the first research-based definition of the dimensions in nursing. The results, published in the Journal of Nursing Education, November 2000, provoked national and international interest in their work. Based on the validity of that research, the authors, along with a methodological expert colleague, Dr. George Allen, created and tested a cost effective protocol for reliably assessing critical thinking in nursing (published in the Journal of Professional Nursing, January-February 2004).
Rubenfeld and Scheffer have presented numerous papers and workshops on teaching critical thinking and have several publications on the topic, the most recent being a book chapter, "Critical Thinking: What is it and how do we teach it?" in Dochterman and Grace's Current Issues in Nursing, Sixth Edition (2001).
Rubenfeld and Scheffer have drawn on their research and expertise in teaching and practice to synthesize the components of critical thinking in nursing with the Institute of Medicine's five competencies (patient-centered care, interdisciplinary teamwork, evidence-based practice, informatics, and quality improvement) to provide this cutting edge text for nurse clinicians and educators. Their skill in writing common-sense information in a humorous style make this text both enjoyable to read and invaluable in promoting critical thinking in nursing practice and education.