This post will reflect on and discuss the following quote. “learning from one’s experience involves not just reflection, but critical reflection” (Merriam & Bierema, 2014, p. 117).
This quote comes at the end of section in which the writers have described reflective practice as “learning acquired through reflection on or in practice” (Merriam & Bierema, 2014, p. 115). An example of this is within professional preparation programs in which the learner learns skills while on the job. Critical reflection is described as “a more postmodern and critical stance on reflective practice” (Merriam & Bierema, 2014, p. 117) in which the reflection is much more in-depth than just reflecting on how well the student feels they performed the skill. The critical reflection is when the student determines and names the assumptions that they have when performing a newly learned skill. It is when the learner analyzes their assumptions and compares them to how they experience reality. The student can then adopt and integrate their assumptions as their new reality…a newly learned idea (Merriam & Bierema, 2014). This quote caught my attention as reflection is a large part of new learning in the field of nursing. However, the term ‘critical reflection’ was a new term for me and I was interested in learning more about it.
I chose this quote because I strongly agree with the use of reflection in the both personal and professional learning. As a nursing educator, I use reflection as a technique with nurses within the hospital who are maintaining and advancing their practice and skill. I often use the technique after a skill has been performed and I ask the nurse how they felt they did. Nurses are taught to be self-reflective and generally are very insightful into their own practice. Most of the time nurses often will explain what they liked about what they did and what they would do differently next time and why. I have also used this technique in a group discussion format to give nurses a chance to debrief about a situation that occurred. When the technique is used in a group setting, those who are out-loud processors can learn by discussing the situation and those who learn by listening and thinking quietly can also learn from the discussion. What I have not had much time is to use the more in-depth critical reflection as it would take quite a bit more time to do that. This is perhaps where encouraging the nurse to journal on their own time may be the next step.
I have always believed that reflection is a key part of a student solidifying their learning, but I wanted to know how critical reflection is important. When I looked deeper into the topic I found a handout on the Virginia Commonwealth University website that explains that through critical reflection students “analyze concepts, evaluate experiences, and postulate theory. It provides students with the opportunity to examine and question their beliefs, opinions, and values. It involves the student observing, asking questions, and putting facts, ideas, and experiences together to derive new meaning. Critical reflection promotes personal development by enhancing students’ self-awareness, their sense of community, and their sense of their own capacities. It enhances students’ critical understanding of the course topics and their ability to assess their own values, goals, and progress” (The Importance of Critical Reflection, 2011, p.1). It is obvious to me that critical reflection is a way for the learner to develop a much more solid learning experience as they take a deeper dive into their own values and beliefs. When this type of learning is done, the learner is builds on their knowledge in the affective domain. I believe that if learning is done in conjunction with an emotional reaction to the experience or material, there is less of a chance that the learner will forget what they have learned.
The article also quotes John Dewey saying, “truly educative experiences generate interest, are intrinsically worthwhile, present problems that awaken new curiosity, and creates a demand for new information, and gives the learner time to foster new development (The Importance of Critical Reflection, 2011, p.1). I truly want the nurses I work with to intrinsically desire to become better all round nurses. I want to awaken their curiosity and generate more interest.
As I read through the handout on the Virginia Commonwealth University, I found suggestions of how to apply critical reflection in different settings. The ORID Model (objective, reflective, interpretive, decisional) was an example of how to enable students to critically reflect just like in this PIDP 3100 assignment! I have been critically reflective in this course without even knowing it! The article also discusses use of group discussions, portfolios and notebooks, presentations, simulations and role playing, electronic forum, and engaging the community. This supports my use of group discussions for learning within the hospital setting. What I may also integrate into my teaching is more opportunities for simulation and role playing. This takes some time up front to write case studies, set up the lab and then find opportunities for staff to leave join while on shift and often staff are not keen to come in on their day off. We have integrated mock code blue scenarios within the work day and rotate between different units so as to give many different staff an opportunity to practice being in a code blue situation. We debrief after the mock code with the group, but for some nurses, encouraging them to journal about this may also be important to enhance their learning even more. There is a Facebook group for our nurses who work on the medical unit. I am going to think more about how I may be able to integrate some learning opportunities on this forum.
In Conclusion, I feel excited to integrate more opportunities for nurses at my hospital to use critical reflection to enhance their learning so as to give more opportunities for nurses to advance their knowledge and skill and to foster a desire for more learning and to awaken new curiosity and a desire to be the best nurses ever.
Merriam, S.B. & Bierema, L.L. (2014). Adult Learning: Linking Theory to Practice. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Service-Learning@VCU. (2011). The Importance of Critical Reflection. Retrieved from: http://wp.vcu.edu/servicelearninginstitute/wp-content/uploads/sites/278/2011/10/Critical- Reflection-Handout-2012.pdf