JOURNAL ARTICLE

Implementing reflection: insights from pre-registration mental health students

Moira O Donovan
Nurse Education Today 2007, 27 (6): 610-6
17081658
Reflection and reflective practice continues to be contentious issues in nursing. The focus of this article is the use of reflection by pre-registration mental health students. The broad aim of this preliminary study was to discover student mental health nurses' perceptions of reflection as a learning strategy during clinical placement. Using a constructivist grounded theory methodology [Charmaz, K., 2000. Grounded theory: Objectivist and Constructivist Methods. In: Denzin, N., Lincoln, Y. (Eds.), Handbook of Qualitative Research, second ed. Sage, Thousand Oaks, California], five students were interviewed individually in their clinical placements. Data analysis revealed three major categories: understanding the process of reflection, using reflection in clinical practice, and needing support and guidance. Findings indicated that students were primarily using reflection-on-action, but to varying extents. Overall, students felt that reflection facilitated their learning. Factors were discovered that both helped and hindered students' use of reflection. These included level of preparation to reflect, a limited culture of reflection and the level of support from preceptors, clinical staff, clinical placement co-ordinators, and lecturers. In conclusion, it appears that a collaborative approach between students, Health Service Providers and institutes of nursing is vital for the successful development and implementation of reflective learning strategies in clinical placement. Suggestions are made as to how a collaborative approach may be developed to enhance this process.

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