Putting reflective practice into action: A case study

Ronald A. Smith, Sharyn Andrews, Catherine Oliver, Jane Chambers-Evans


The McGill University Health Centre Reflective Practice Program, which began in 2003, provides a theory and structure for reflection and is the basis of an ongoing professional development program for nurses in leadership positions. It is designed to improve their knowledge and skills, and to provide support to nurse leaders who are continually facing difficult interpersonal situations involving staff, patients, families and the interdisciplinary team. It is based on a well-developed theoretical framework, a theory-of-action approach to reflective practice (RP). This approach is described in some detail, together with the training program for RP facilitators. This RP program involves regular monthly small group meetings to discuss challenging interpersonal situations. To date, 37 facilitators have been trained and currently about 120 nurses are participating regularly in RP groups. To illustrate this approach a detailed example of a typical RP session is presented, together with some illustrative feedback data collected over several years. We conclude with recommendations for implementing this type of RP program and describe how our theoretical approach has spread beyond the nursing department and has been introduced to some students and faculty in the School of Nursing and to interprofessional staff in one of the clinical groupings.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5430/jnep.v8n10p36

Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

ISSN 1925-4040 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4059 (Online)

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