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THE MEANING OF REFLECTIVE PRACTICE WITHIN CONTEMPORARY NURSING PRACTICE. A DEBATE WITH MODEST CONSENSUS

Author Maura Fitzsimons
Abstract Reflective practice is regarded as fundamental for nursing practice. However there is an absence of clarity regarding its meaning which therefore results in challenges for educationalists who are engaged in the teaching and development of curricula for nursing. Despite this there are several converging view points on the meaning of reflective practice such as the triggering of an emotional response, the development of professional identity, personal beliefs and values being questioned, knowledge being analysed and there is a building or connection of new and existing knowledge. Reflection also has emancipatory claims which involves the inclusion of broader social critiques and critical reflection. The use of reflective practice within nursing work environments can be challenging. Power struggles within health care organisations are evident and can impede the use of reflective practice where the ward environment values scientific knowledge and management values above other sources of knowledge. Additionally the lack of time for reflection is also regarded as a significant challenge for reflective practice.

The assessment of reflective practice with in nurse education has had considerable debate. Assessing reflection is regarded as an effective method of recognising the value of reflection for practice and for narrowing the theory practice gap. However assessment of reflective practice is also regarded as restricting the student by establishing boundaries and guidelines, which may refrain the student from honest reflection as the assessor is judging the actions and overall cause potential frustration to the student. This is further compounded by the lack of experience of lecturers when correcting reflective assignments.

Keywords Nurse education, reflective practice, power struggles, assessment process, lack of clarity of understanding of reflective practice
Published In ICEP Proceedings
Year 2017
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