A career in healthcare is going to be full of challenges that might test your ability to think critically and solve problems on the fly. Patients' health statuses may suddenly take a dramatic turn, requiring you to react adequately and make possibly life-saving decisions with very little time to spare. That’s why problem solving may become an integral aspect of your education.1 To guide you along, here are five ways to improve your abilities to solve problems in healthcare.
- Exercise your mind.
It might be hard to dedicate time to physical activity when you're attending nursing classes, but you may be able to work out your brain at any time of the day. The Careers and Employability Service at the University of Kent suggested that playing mind games could help you develop better analytical and problem solving skills.2 Games such as Sudoku, chess and crossword puzzles may be ideal for fostering new ways to solve problems.
- Develop a plan of action.
When you consider most problem solving scenarios, the ability to plan ahead is typically unavailable. Especially with healthcare, you won't have much of an opportunity to develop strategies before needing to react immediately. However, Mind Tools explained that coming up with a basic outline that contains four simple steps might assist your ability to solve issues rapidly.3 You would start by being able to define your problem, followed by coming up with various solutions, quickly evaluating them, and then selecting and implementing the appropriate choice. This strategy might make you more confident in your ability to think on your feet and care for patients.
- Examine yourself.
According to University Survival, in order to properly enhance your skills at problem solving, you have to look at your own personal barriers.4 Often times, the biggest hurdle people have to overcome is a lack of confidence in themselves. Try to think of how you'd normally react to certain tough situations and imagine new ways to solve those problems.
- Focus on the solution.
LifeHack pointed out that when you focus on the problem rather than the solution, your brain starts to feed you negative thoughts, which in turn results in negative emotions.5 For example, if a patient's blood pressure is dropping, instead of worrying about why it's happening, you should think of various remedies you learned from nursing college that might result in a positive solution. Keeping your mind fixated on the answer – not the question – may be instrumental in improving your ability to immediately react responsibly to medical emergency scenarios.