Evaluation of nursing students’ work experience through the use of reflective journals
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Evaluation of nursing students’ work experience through the use of reflective journals

Charlotte Ross Faculty instructor, Faculty of health sciences, Douglas College, Coquitlam, British Columbia, Canada
Karamjit Mahal Faculty instructor, Faculty of health sciences, Douglas College, Coquitlam, British Columbia, Canada
Yves Chinnapen Community mental health nurse, Maple Ridge Mental Health Centre, Maple Ridge, British Columbia, Canada
Marina Kolar Research assistant, Douglas College, Coquitlam, British Columbia, Canada
Karen Woodman Research assistant, Douglas College, Coquitlam, British Columbia, Canada

Positive learning outcomes can be achieved by combining clinical community placements with critical self-reflection, say Charlotte Ross and colleagues

Aims The aim of this study was to explore the effects of a pilot clinical community mental health placement on general nursing students’ lived experiences throughout that placement.

Method A qualitative thematic analysis was undertaken on general nursing students’ reflective journals during their clinical mental health course. A two-stage process involving independent analysis and a dependent analysis of the journals was carried out to identify themes.

Results Four themes were identified: preconceived notions; learning outcomes/experiences; atmosphere of the workplace; and holistic client-centered care.

Conclusions The students in this community clinical rotation gained more compassion and understanding towards those with mental illness and positively transformed negative opinions. They encountered a warmer and more welcoming atmosphere than they had previously experienced in other clinical settings, acquired an appreciation for holistic and client-centered approaches to nursing care and achieved positive learning outcomes and experiences. Factors that may have contributed to positive learning outcomes included the process of reflective journaling and the supportive learning environment for students. Existing knowledge about pedagogical approaches to nursing education in clinical mental health was supported and extended, and recommendations made for avenues of future inquiry.

Mental Health Practice. 17, 6, 21-27. doi: 10.7748/mhp2014.03.17.6.21.e823

Correspondence

rossc@douglascollege.ca

Peer review

This article has been subject to double blind peer review

Conflict of interest

None declared

Received: 04 November 2012

Accepted: 05 April 2013