Structured Reflective Practice Practicums: a strategy to promote student enagagement and investment in learning from experiences.

Kavanagh-McBride, Louise and Mulgrew, Breda (2013) Structured Reflective Practice Practicums: a strategy to promote student enagagement and investment in learning from experiences. In: 6th Annual Learning Innovation Network Conference – Sustainable Models of Student Engagement – Rhetoric or Achievable? 17th October 2013 in the Ashling Hotel, Dublin., Dublin, Ireland.


Reflective practice is promoted as a developmental process leading to competent practice (Johns, 2002) and is well represented and supported in education research and literature. It is also described as an essential attribute for competent health care professionals (Boud et al., 1985; Schon, 1983, 1987, 1995). Atkins & Murphy (1993) identified a complexity of skills for reflection including; self-awareness, description, critical analysis and evaluation. Dewey (1933) suggested that education based on experience may require more and not less guidance, and this holds true for nursing and other practice based professions. Johns (1994) emphasised the need for reflection to start with a model or framework to provide guidance and structure, and as the student develops skills of reflection, models or guides can then be adapted, combined or abandoned as required. The Irish model approach to nurse education strongly supports these views with ‘protected time status’ provided for reflective practice throughout the four year nursing degree programme. A regional rural HEI provider of Pre-registration nursing degree programmes, in the Republic of Ireland has adapted and revised its curriculum and approach to the operationalization of reflection and reflective practice for student nurses in the classroom and clinical setting. Structured Reflective Practice Practicums (SRPP) were introduced for pre-registration nursing students in three disciplines including; general, mental health and intellectual disability nursing programmes after successfully piloting. The curriculum was revised and now incorporates SRPP in order to foster students’ engagement in the reflective process including; self- awareness, reflection, enquiry, dialogue, understanding and synthesis of clinical practice experiences. SRPP are scheduled by academic and clinical practice development staff and are clinically based as part of the students work based placements. This ensures students acquire and develop reflective skills which in turn leads to a process of inquiry, investment in learning and promotes evidence based practice whereby the student seeks empirical evidence and research to add or deny congruence to their experiences in clinical practice.

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