Persky AM, Medina MS, Castleberry AN. Developing Critical Thinking Skills in Pharmacy Students. Am J Pharm Educ. 2019 Mar;83(2):7033

PMID: 30962645


Objective. To review the importance of and barriers to critical thinking and provide evidence-based recommendations to encourage development of these skills in pharmacy students. Findings. Critical thinking (CT) is one of the most desired skills of a pharmacy graduate but there are many challenges to students thinking critically including their own perceptions, poor metacognitive skills, a fixed mindset, a non-automated skillset, heuristics, biases and the fact that thinking is effortful. Though difficult, developing CT skills is not impossible. Research and practice suggest several factors that can improve one's thinking ability: a thoughtful learning environment, seeing or hearing what is done to executive cognitive operations that students can emulate, and guidance and support of their efforts until they can perform on their own. Summary. Teaching CT requires coordination at the curricular level and further to the more discrete level of a lesson and a course. Instructor training is imperative to this process since this intervention has been found to be the most effective in developing CT skills.