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Relective Assignment: Growth and Professional Development

Relective Assignment: Growth and Professional Development

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An essay for the 2011 Undergraduate Awards Competition by Michelle O Reilly. Originally submitted for Growth and Professional Development at Trinity College, Dublin, with lecturer Mark Monahan in the category of Nursing & Midwifery
An essay for the 2011 Undergraduate Awards Competition by Michelle O Reilly. Originally submitted for Growth and Professional Development at Trinity College, Dublin, with lecturer Mark Monahan in the category of Nursing & Midwifery

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Published by: Undergraduate Awards on Aug 29, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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The purpose of this assignment is to examine the importance andsubstance of reflection in clinical practice and analyse how it influenced mylearning throughout my internship. When I commenced my final year of nursing, I was, in accordance with my clinical competency documentspractising under supervision. But now as I near the end of my internship,there is an expectation that I can carry out my nursing actions proficientlyand independently and that I am competent in these duties.My aim within this assignment is to briefly discuss historical aspects of reflection in order to explore the concept in more detail. I will alsoexamine some models of reflection which will allow me to highlightreflections relevance in clinical practice. This will provide clarification formy own choice of employing Gibbs (1988) reflective cycle as a frameworkfor guiding this assignment.Two reflective vignettes were required for presentation in the reflectivesessions and were to be linked to clinical practice and two Domains of Competence. My first vignette (Appendix A) focused on Domain 2:Organisation and the Management of Care. My second vignette wascentred on Domain 3: Interpersonal Relationships and both wereunderpinned by Gibbs (1988) reflective cycle (Appendix C).For the purpose of this assignment I will examine and discuss my secondvignette (Appendix B) in further detail. It will draw on aspects of myportfolio, sections of support evidence and reflective writing. It willdemonstrate how the combination of clinical experience, my work in thereflective sessions and my theoretical knowledge amalgamated towardsmy advancement. This will allow me to make observations and identifyany learning achieved and demonstrate how this learning benefited my
practice and helped me achieve my competency. My reflective vignettehas allowed me to examine my interpersonal skills whist working in anacute in-patient setting.
History of Reflection:
The notion of learning from experience is not a new idea. It was depictedin the writings of John Dewey who was writing about reflective thinking inthe early part of the twentieth century. Dewey (1933) viewed reflection asa meaning making exercise that transfers the learner from one experienceto the next. Dewey (1933) considered reflection to be closely linked tocritical thinking and claimed that reflection needed time to do well and wasa rigorous and complex exercise.Considering contemporary writings on reflection, the most significant workcan be associated with Donald Schon (1983). Throughout the literatureSchon’s concepts are still widely referred to, Teekman (2000), and themain value of his work can be based around the notion that reflection is ameans by which professionals can bridge the theory practice gap (Schon1983). Schon based his views on the potential of reflection to exposeknowledge both “in” and “on” action (Schon 1983). Whereas Dewey(1933) condensed the reflective process, Schon (1983) appeared to bemore concerned in the actual outcomes of reflection (Duffy 2007).Schon (1983) described reflection in two ways; reflection “on action”, aprocess that occurs after the event, allowing time for review. This processenables the practitioner to describe, analyse and evaluate the situationand provides insight for improved practice. Reflection “in action” permitsthe practitioner to reflect on behaviour as it occurs, providing a means of facilitation for the follow on actions to be optimised. In other words thisprocess turns experience into knowledge and lets the practitioner employ
their personal knowledge to deal with any given situation, and can beconsidered as a means of problem solving (Schon 1983). This means of problem solving is essential in the modern practice of nursing, were theclinical environment is often complex and produces a variety of issueswhich require a range of approaches and problem solving techniques.
What Is Reflection; Defining the Concept:
There are numerous definitions for the concept of reflection available inthe literature (Dewey 1933, Schon 1983, Johns 2002, Gamble andBrennan 2008). Johns (2004) describes reflection as being self awareeither during or after an experience. Gustafsson & Fagerberg (2004) viewreflection as an instrument, a tool which allows the practitioner tocontinually develop. According to Nicholl & Higgins (2004) reflection letsthe practitioner tap into a knowledge base that has been gained fromexperience and allows them to make connections between theory andpractice. However Duffy (2008) makes claims that reflection is poorlydefined in the literature and must be considered to be much more than aninformal deliberation and can only occur when one questions the effects of prior learning. Platzer
et al 
(2000) concurs with Duffy (2008) in that theyboth claim that in order for reflection to be more potent and purposeful, itmust include the use of a framework which will provide and encouragestructure which will guide the reflective process.Reflective practice is not a static process but is an active process, onewhich continually allows the practitioner to explore a range of experiencesand helps them to identify any challenges to the process as well as theadvantages of reflective practice (Maggs & Biley 2000). Reflection is avery worthwhile approach, but it does require the successful practitioner toreadily invest time and energy in the process (Kyrkjebo & Hage 2005).

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