Promoting reflection in mental health nursing practice: A case illustration using problem-based learning
Reflective practice in nursing has been shown to improve both client care and nurses role satisfaction. Students require regular and guided opportunities to learn the necessary reflective skills that underpin best practice. Problem-based learning (PBL) processes based on comprehensive learning packages developed from actual clinical cases provide a contextualized and realistic means for students to develop and hone their reflective skills for use as mental health practitioners. This paper uses a case illustration to demonstrate the usefulness of PBL as a mechanism for developing reflective practice in the mental health context. Students analysed five cases drawn from actual documented clinical materials that included nursing, medical and allied health professionals' assessments, treatment regimes, and progress notes. One student's written analysis of the five cases and an interview with the student is presented as a case illustration. The case illustrates the student's reflections on the theme of 'hope' for the clients and identified three obstacles. These were: (i) a lack of acknowledgement by health professionals of traumatic life events; (ii) overlooking less tangible losses; and (iii) a central focus on drug treatment. Reflective learning strategies can be incorporated in on- and off-campus learning environments and used to assist the learner to practise critical reflective skills in a controlled and safe manner. Reflective processes are more meaningful if the PBL package that students encounter represents real clinical scenarios with comprehensive resource materials.
International Journal of Mental Health Nursing
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