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Reflective Practice Portfolio

Reflective Practice Portfolio

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An essay for the 2012 Undergraduate Awards Competition by Margaret Power. Originally submitted for Intellectual Disability Nursing at None, with lecturer Eileen Carey in the category of Nursing & Midwifery
An essay for the 2012 Undergraduate Awards Competition by Margaret Power. Originally submitted for Intellectual Disability Nursing at None, with lecturer Eileen Carey in the category of Nursing & Midwifery

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Published by: Undergraduate Awards on Aug 30, 2012
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This assignment provides a reflection on the concept of inclusion, as experienced by the author, inthe context of working as a third year intellectual disability student nurse. As stated by johns (2009)reflection is awareness of self within the moment, having a clear mind so as to be open topossibility of that moment. It is the wisdom that helps us see things clearly. Specific reflectionswritten and devised by the author incorporate: A logo which represents intellectual disabilitynursing in Ireland today (appendix 1); A
Hand Puppet to Facilitate Communication for Childrenwith Intellectual Disabilities (appendix 4); A Drama script, which focuses on the person centredperspective of four adults with a mild degree of intellectual disability (appendix 5) and; A poem,which reflects the life of an adult with a severe intellectual disability (appendix 6). Drawing fromthese reflections the author describes her understanding and learning regarding social inclusion as ahuman right for a person with an intellectual disability. Through reflection on her experiences, theauthor demonstrates how the use of reflection has heightened her awareness of the role of the RNIDin facilitating meaningful inclusion for people with intellectual disability specifically through theuse of assistive technology and new virtual worlds. Social inclusion means being in a position toparticipate fully in the life of the society one lives in. On the other hand social exclusion entailsbeing prevented from doing so. People with disabilities face many barriers to full participation intheir societies, but only very limited evidence has been available to date for Ireland on the actualimpact of disability on different forms of participation (Gannon and Nolan 2005). The overallimage emerging from the literature suggests people with disabilities are not always included insociety. It also suggests Ireland could be doing more in promoting their rights and inclusion. Thefour experience options are described reflectively using Johns model (2010). The author selectedone topic from her logo (appendix 1) to write the following reflective essay. The
topic of choice was inclusion. The author selected experience option 1, firstly to explore the inclusion andhuman rights of people with intellectual disability, and secondly to explore how the intellectualdisability nurse can provide support and promotion for same. The author analysed from theliterature 23 papers which consisted of government reports, acts, frameworks, publications and journal articles, 5 were of Irish origin. In the first section the author will critically discuss inclusion,followed by how the RNID may facilitate inclusion and person centred approaches. The authorexplores assistive technology and new virtual worlds, depicting how access to this technology canpromote social inclusion. Through my reflection I have learned the key guiding principle for nursessupporting individuals is to approach their care with the central aim of ensuring that the person is incontrol of all that happens for them and to them. A key model to facilitate this should be the use of person centred approaches (Gates and Barr 2009).
 People with disabilities face many barriers to full participation, and are thus likely to face aheightened risk of social exclusion across various dimensions. In recent years there has been amajor shift in the assumptions held about the nature of disability, away from what has been termedthe medical model of disability towards what has been termed a social model. The medical model
of disability focuses on people‟s specific impairments. Its underlying assumpti
ons are that peoplewith a disability are different from the norm and that they need to be helped and if possible cured sothat they might conform to that norm. Starting from the early 1970s, this way of thinking aboutdisability was increasingly challenged and rejected by people with a disability, who are more infavour of what has been termed the social model of disability. The central shift in thinking of thesocial model was that disablement arose from the environment and organisation of society ratherthan from the individual and their impairment (Gannon and Nolan 2005). During my clinicalplacement at a residential centre I witnessed the social model in practice. The social modelincorporates a person centred approach for each individual service user. There is more emphasis onthe environment and how it can be modified to suit the service users rather than the service userssuiting the environment. In doing this assignment I reflected on how the social model wasincorporated and facilitated in practice. My on-going personal reflection developed my knowledgeand understanding of the social model to a higher level. Reflection gave me a great insight into thismodel and changed my understanding of exactly what its purpose was. Prior to reflection I did notrealise the many positive benefits the social model consisted of in promoting inclusion for peoplewith intellectual disability. Gannon and Nolan (2005) state disability is seen as a consequence of social, attitudinal and environmental barriers that prevent people from participating in society. Thechallenge for staff is then on the need to change societal conditions to accommodate the needs of the disabled person. Those with disabilities should be able to participate in such activities aseducation, employment and leisure along with everyone else. From my own personal reflection Ican see how changing disabling environments into enabling environments can include people withintellectual disabilities into society by allowing them to use their full potential in everydayactivities. Linking the environment with the service users
” instead of “disabilities” I
realised the importance of changing the environment from disabling to enabling for people withintellectual disability opens a whole new world for this group. On reflecting I now realise howallowing people to develop their personality through the social model promotes inclusion,individuality and human rights.The National Disability Strategy (2004) includes, a Multi-Annual Investment Programme of close
to €900m over the years 2006 to 2009. This strategy provides the framework for delivery of long
term outcomes outlined in
Government of Ireland (2006)
A series of Sectoral Plansare currently being developed by the following Departments: Health and Children, Social andFamily Affairs, Environment, Heritage and Local Government, Transport, Communications,Marine and Natural Resources, and Trade and Employment. The Disability Act 2005 is part of aframework of Government legislative measures which support social inclusion for people withdisabilities in Ireland. The Government of Ireland (2006) and Social Partners recognise theimportance of arts and culture in their contribution to the economy as a whole and to the significantadditions they make to the quality of the lives of all citizens. Although, Irelands work on disabilityrights could be improved, the work of the Government of Ireland according to the NationalDisability Strategy (2004) as mentioned above indicates that Ireland is trying its best to promoteand protect the rights and inclusion of people with disabilities. During my clinical practice Irealised a sample of this protection through Indiv
idual programme plans (IPP‟s).
Such plans areindividual to each person and incorporate the
future, short and long term goals, healthneeds, family, and personal abilities. Prior to my reflection I thought about the work load of on-going documentation in the IPP and how time consuming this could be. My thoughts were cloudedin thinking we may be taking from the care aspect of a hands on approach for the service user inspending too much time documenting. On reflection I realised how important documentation wasfor the plan to be successful in achieving the service
goals and aspirations, and improvingtheir health and overall quality of life for their future. Through my reflection I could see how theRNID can support and protect the rights and inclusion of people with disabilities by workingtowards achieving goals and more importantly including the person in their own personal plan.Prior to my reflection I was in doubt if Ireland was trying its best in promoting and protecting therights and inclusion of people with disabilities. In my personal and professional development whichI have gained through my personal reflection I can now see more evidence from the literaturementioned above that Ireland is working towards promoting inclusion and protecting the rights of people with intellectual disabilities. During my reflection I sat and thought about what it is like fora person with intellectual disability. I reflected on the theoretical aspect of my learning from myexperience in college and how this linked to what I was reflecting on in my clinical practice. Mypersonal thinking has been changed dramatically through my personal reflection. In the next sectionthe author will discuss the facilitation of inclusion and how the RNID can facilitate the inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities.

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