The way you think about what is taking place around you is an aspect of being a professional. As you become more comfortable with your job, it may be easy to slip into a routine and go through the day on “autopilot.” But, dialysis clinics are complex healthcare delivery environments. Each dialysis run could become a life-or-death matter. You must be prepared at all times.
Critical thinking means making good choices by using information from multiple sources. These sources might include your training, a policy manual, a talk with a doctor, or what your patient prefers. When you use critical thinking, you see that not all decisions are “black and white” or “right and wrong.” In dialysis care, there are times when you need to factor in multiple issues.
Critical thinking means that you are always aware of the status of your patients. And, you look to identify potential problems before they happen. For example, you have a patient who tends to drop his blood pressure halfway into his treatment. How might you prevent this? Remember that each minute of dialysis is vital to a patient. (Standard in-center dialysis treatments just barely prevent uremic symptoms.) A machine in bypass mode means a patient who is losing valuable treatment time.