Chirema, Kathleen Dympna (2007) The use of reflective journals in the promotion of reflection and learning in post-registration nursing students. Nurse Education Today, 27 (3). pp. 192-202. ISSN 0260-6917

The aim of this qualitative case study was to examine the use of reflective journals in promoting reflection and learning in post-registration nursing students. A purposive homogenous sample of 42 part-time post-registration students who had undertaken a module either as part of the Diploma in Professional Studies in Palliative Care or Breast Care Nursing within a UK University took part in the study.

Data were collected from reflective journals and interviews.

The students’ journals were analysed to determine the extent and level of reflection using a model devised by Boud [Boud, D., Keogh, R., Walker, D. (Eds.), 1985. Reflection: Turning Experience into Learning. Kogan Page, London] and adapted by Wong [Wong, F.K.Y., Kember, D., Chung, L.Y.F., Yan, L., 1995. Assessing the levels of student reflection from reflective journals. Journal of Advanced Nursing 22, 48–57]. A model devised by Mezirow [Mezirow, J., 1990. How critical reflection triggers transformative learning. In: Mezirow, J. et al. (Eds.), Fostering Critical Reflection in Adulthood: A Guide to Transformative and Emancipatory Learning. Jossey-Bass, San Francisco, pp. 1–20; Mezirow, J., 1991. Transformative Dimensions of Adult Learning. Jossey-Bass, San Franscisco] was used to identify 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. Evidence also suggests that journals are a useful tool for promoting reflection and learning. However, some students appear to benefit more from their use than others.