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The use of reflective journals in the promotion of reflection and learning in post registration nursing students

Chirema, Kathleen Dympna (2003) The use of reflective journals in the promotion of reflection and learning in post registration nursing students. Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield.

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    Reflective journal writing has frequently been used in nursing and other health care fields
    as an educational strategy to promote reflection and learning. Although reflective journal
    writing is recognised as a valuable tool to promote students' learning, very little research
    has been undertaken to evaluate its use. The overall aim of this study is to examine the
    use of reflective journals in the promotion of reflection and learning in post-registration
    nursing students. In order to achieve that aim a qualitative descriptive case study design
    was utilised to examine four objectives. The first was to analyse reflective journals
    completed by students during a period of learning in order to determine the extent and
    level of reflection achieved. The second, to examine the use of reflective journals as an
    educational strategy for facilitating learning in the practice setting. Thirdly, there was the
    intention to examine the nature and content of guidelines given to students with regard to
    the use of a reflective journal, and fourthly, to examine the support given to students by
    preceptors in relation to completing a reflective journal during their practice experience.

    A purposive homogenous sample of eighty one part-time post-registration nursing
    students undertaking one of four modules, either as part of the Diploma in Professional
    Studies in Palliative Care Nursing or the Diploma in Breast Care Nursing during one
    semester constituted the total sample. Forty- two students agreed to participate in the

    Data were collected from reflective journals completed during one module and by
    interviews with fifteen students, two teachers and three preceptors.
    Forty-two journals were analysed to determine the extent and level of reflection using a
    model devised by Boud et al. [1985] and adapted by Wong et al. [1995]. A model devised
    by Mezirow [1990] was used to identify the non-reflectors, reflectors, and critical reflectors.

    The findings suggest that student writing can be used as evidence for the presence or
    absence of reflective thinking. Allocating students to the three categories of non-reflector,
    reflector and critical reflector was possible. However, identifying textual elements within
    the journals and allocating them to the finer levels of reflection was more difficult and less
    reliable. Evidence suggests overall that journals are a useful tool for promoting reflection
    and learning. However, some students appear to benefit more from journals than others.
    Approximately two thirds of the respondents were able to demonstrate varying levels of
    reflection and were classified as either reflectors or critical reflectors. The remaining one
    third of the respondents were unable to demonstrate any levels of reflection. Overall
    respondents expressed positive views, regarding the use of reflective journals. However, a
    small number found writing challenging and some questioned their use. Some
    respondents preferred to talk about their reflections rather than write them in a journal.
    The importance of receiving clear guidance on the purpose of journal writing from
    teachers, and the need for non-judgemental feedback were highlighted as important
    factors in promoting the effective use of journals. Some concern was expressed regarding
    the disclosure of confidential information, and also who would have access to journals
    when used for assessment purposes. The issue of the time required for reflection and
    writing a journal was a major concern for some respondents. Students valued the role of
    preceptors in supporting their journal writing during the practice experience. Preceptors
    considered that the preparation they received for their role was adequate. However, they
    did request debriefing sessions following their support of students who had experienced
    difficult situations.

    This study has presented further evidence that overall, reflective journals may be used as
    a tool to promote reflection and learning in post-registration nursing students.

    Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
    Thesis advisorOliver,
    Additional Information: EThOS Persistent ID
    Uncontrolled Keywords: Reflective journal writing. Medical care. Education
    Subjects: R Medicine > RT Nursing
    L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
    Schools: School of Education and Professional Development
    Depositing User: Graham Stone
    Date Deposited: 12 Jun 2009 14:23
    Last Modified: 28 Jul 2010 19:38


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