Date Approved


Graduate Degree Type


Degree Name

Nursing (D.N.P.)

Degree Program

College of Nursing


Based on the increasing complexity of health care, nurses are performing extremely skilled and high level cognitive work that requires a solid foundation upon which to build. A variety of educational strategies have been utilized to teach critical thinking. The purpose of this program evaluation was to determine if using case studies with videotaped vignettes helped to facilitate the development of critical thinking skills in new graduate nurses participating in a nurse residency program.

Eighteen nurse residents hired for the July nurse residency program participated in this program evaluation. The Health Sciences Reasoning Test (HSRT) was used to measure critical thinking. A paired samples t-test revealed a statistically significant increase (t = -2.219, p = .041) on the overall HSRT score, indicating the participants’ critical thinking did improve after using case studies and videotaped vignettes as an educational strategy for their orientation program. No relationships were found between critical thinking and the variables: age; previous health care experience; location of health care experience; and previous experience with case studies and videotaped vignettes.

It is impossible to prepare new graduate nurses for every situation they could encounter in the clinical practice environment, which is why it is so important for individuals to develop critical thinking skills. Using multiple strategies and embracing technology are options that should be considered when selecting a strategy. The results of this scholarly project are site specific, which precludes the generalizability to other organizations.