I just finished reading Amy Regier’s letter saying the Montana Nurses Association shows a lack of critical thinking in the Sept. 22 Beacon. She fails to define critical thinking as it applies to her statements. The National League for Nursing Accreditation Commission (NLNAC) defines critical thinking as “the deliberate nonlinear process of collecting, interpreting, analyzing, drawing conclusions about, presenting and evaluating information that is both factually and belief based.”
Ms. Reiger’s suggestion we use “caution as well as introspection” about bold statements is good advice. I would suggest readers must do this as they read Ms. Reiger’s opinion piece. Critical thinking in nursing can fail when patient care is dictated by personal preferences, self-interests, political affiliations, prejudice, and administration interference.
Ms. Regier’s statement, “when one ceases to critically think they become more susceptible to manipulation and thus control” speaks less to nursing and more to her personal beliefs. Throughout her op-ed she uses oversimplified logic speaking only to survival rates, omitting the long-term effects of COVID on children as noted by the American Academy of Pediatrics. These include struggling to make it through the day in school, exhaustion, depression, trouble concentrating, increased difficulty with schoolwork, lower than usual grades, as well as decreased performance in athletics compared to their pre-COVID levels.
She also elicits emotions on sensitive topics as pediatric mental health. This issue, especially in Montana, is important and complex, and suggesting masks as the cause is dangerous. One could argue the long-term effects listed above that occur in the pediatric COVID population puts them at risk for mental health issues as well, in which case the interventions should include COVID prevention efforts. Unfortunately, it appears her use of the Montana Nursing Association’s position is being used to distract the reader from her agenda, which is her pursuit of re-election to the Montana Legislature. It is her personal preferences, affiliations, and self-interests that shine through, not her critical thinking skills.
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