Reflection as infiltration: learning in the experiential domain


Mary E Andrew, The Cottage Qrendi Road, Siggiewn Malta GC


This paper discusses part of an ethnomethodological study of a short, post-registration course in communication in palliative care The study describes the different perceptions, expectations and reflections of the participants and the facilitators as they engaged together in learning through role-play, simulated interviews with patients and discussion The emotionally challenging nature of experiential teaching in palliative care appeared to present the facilitators of the course with a number of dilemmas The facilitators' reflections upon these dilemmas appeared to lead them to develop a series of strategies in an attempt to resolve them During the study it became clear that some aspects of these strategies were withheld from the participants These strategies and the reasoning behind them are described together with the participants ‘response The study demonstrates how the participants’ reflections upon the facihtatorled exercises led them to infiltrate the strategies adopted by the facilitators The purpose of these strategies and the significance of the participants' unearthing of them are interpreted within the conceptual framework of Schon's ‘reflective practitioner’ The findings are discussed in relation to current nurse education and the possible implications for curriculum planning and development