The use of clinical logs to improve nursing students’ metacognition: a pilot study


Marsha E. Fonteyn School of Nursing, University of San Francisco, 2130 Fulton Street, San Francisco, CA 94117-1080, USA.


The purpose of this study was to examine the effectiveness of the use of a reflective clinical log to improve students’ thinking strategies and metacognition (cognitive awareness). Rather than prepare a written nursing care plan prior to entering the clinical setting, students instead were asked to write in a clinical log at the completion of their clinical day, reflecting upon client problems that they had identified, the data that were used to identify these problems, the nursing interventions that were used, and the results of these interventions. The students reported that they preferred the use of a reflective log over writing nursing care plans and they felt that the logs improved their ability to think about their thinking (i.e. their metacognition). The results of this pilot study indicate that reflection in clinical logs assists students to become more active learners, to manage their own thinking, and to improve their metacognition. Additional research in this area is needed to confirm study findings and to provide further understanding regarding the effectiveness of clinical logs as a teaching strategy to improve students’ metacognition.