Reflective practice among nurses working in a teaching hospital: An action research with promising benefits for professional development

Véronique Dubé, Francine Ducharme


Background/objectives: Education and professional development are becoming major issues for the nursing profession, which must adapt to new knowledge in the field of health and aging. This study aimed at developing, field-testing and evaluating the benefits of a reflective practice intervention with nurses caring for hospitalized elders.

Method: Based on the Theory of Human Caring and on the Model for Structured Reflection, the study was carried out using an action research approach. Upon completing the reflective practice intervention, the nurses were invited to describe the nursing knowledge and skills that they developed, as well as their perception of reflective practice as a means of improving their professional practice. The study was conducted with 22 nurses working in a teaching hospital. The reflective practice intervention comprised eight thematic workshops each lasting 75 minutes, held at intervals of three weeks, combined with assigned readings and individual exercises. Qualitative data were collected through open-ended questionnaires and focus groups. These data were subjected to thematic content analysis.

Results: Results show that nurses developed different skills required in reflective practice, including introspection, open-mindedness, communication and critical analysis. The participants recognized that the reflective practice intervention allowed them to develop empirical, ethical, esthetic, personal and emancipatory knowledge. Moreover, they perceived reflective practice intervention as a means of improving their professional practice as it encouraged breaking established care routines and fostered the integration of best practices.

Conclusion: This study demonstrates the potential of a reflective practice intervention in a clinical setting as a novel professional development approach that valorizes nurses’ experiences and allows the introduction of interventions based on best practice guidelines.

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Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

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

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