Brainstorming can be an effective way to generate ideas on a specific issue and then to determine which idea or ideas is the best solution. Brainstorming is most effective with groups of 8 - 12 people and should be performed in a relaxed environment.  It works best with a varied group of people.
There are various approaches to brainstorming.  The traditional method is generally the most effective because it openly collaborative allowing participants to build on each others ideas.
Creativity exercises, relaxation exercises or other   activities before the brainstorming session can help participants relax their minds, so that they can be more creative during the session.
Various steps have been described:

The steps described here are:
1.   Define the problem or issue: The problem must be written concisely and clearly.  If the issue is broad, it is worth breaking down into smaller issues which can be brainstormed independently.
2.    Give a time limit:  Larger groups may need more time to get every ones ideas
3.   During the brainstorming session, participants give their ideas on solution to the problem while the facilitator writes it down.
4.   Ideas are selected which is liked best.  Ensure everyone involved in the brainstorming session agrees with the ideas.
5.   Write down criteria for judging which ideas best solve the problem.
6.   Give scores to each idea on a 0 - 5 point scale and select the idea with the highest score.

There are several key factors for a successful brainstorming session.
* State your challenge correctly:The brainstorming sessions participants need to    be given the right challenge to solve the problem.
* Avoid criticizing an idea or a person contributing the idea: Criticism makes the person who contributes the idea feel bad and it also tells others that unusual ideas are not welcome.
*  Have mixed participants.  This will help in generating creative ideas.
* Have an enthusiastic facilitator who compliments ideas, gives high praise to the most outrageous ideas.
*  Good environment   with no disturbances:  Avoid an uncomfortable environment. Very small room, telephone calls or any other kind of interruption.  The facilitator need to insist that the participants are not to be disturbed.

Conclusion: In nursing education, brainstorming is of great value as it enhances the critical thinking ability of nurses and help them become problem-solvers; as it is the need of the day in this ever challenging health scenario.


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