Facilitation of Reflective Learning in Students to Enhance Student Support

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Peggy K. Naicker, MA (HlthSc), AdvDipNursEd, DipICU, BSoc (Nur), RN, CCRN
School of Health Sciences, University of South Africa, Midrand, South Africa
Gisela H. Van Rensburg, DLittetPhil, MACur, BACur (Hons), BACur, RN, RM, RCN, RPN
Department of Health Studies, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa

Over the last 20 years the nursing profession has widely accepted reflective practices and reflective learning as effective measures to help students provide care in a frequently changing context. A quantitative, explorative, descriptive study was conducted in nursing education institutions in one of the nine provinces in South Africa. A total of 121 nurse educators completed a structured questionnaire. The findings revealed that, although nurse educators agree with the importance of reflective practices in the teaching and learning environment they do not necessarily place emphasis on developing their own reflective practices.  Reflective learning was not identified as a formal learning approach in the programmes the nurse educators facilitated but the educators did attempt to include reflection in the teaching and learning activities planned. Not enough emphasis is placed on the creation of a teaching and learning environment that will enhance reflection in a non-threatening context. The deeper understanding of reflective learning comes with continued personal reflective practices. Nurse educators should be taught how to facilitate reflective learning activities and how to create an environment conducive to reflection. Through reflective teaching practices students could be supported in developing into critical thinkers hence reflective learning should be a formal teaching and learning approach in nursing curricula.