• nursing;
  • post-registration education;
  • critical thinking;
  • reflective practice;
  • higher education;
  • mature student

An evaluation of process and outcomes from learning through reflective practice groups on a post-registration nursing course

Small groups were set up purposefully on a part-time post-registration Diploma in Professional Studies in Nursing programme to enable students to reflect on and learn from experience. The use of these groups was qualitatively evaluated by the use of in-depth interviews. Although there were many barriers to such learning, some students made significant developments in their critical thinking ability and underwent perspective transformations that led to changes in attitudes and behaviour. These are identified as an increased professionalism, greater autonomy in decision making, more self-confidence to challenge the status quo and make their own judgements, and a less rule-bound approach to their practice. The processes by which these changes occurred are identified as support and challenge within the groups offered by both the facilitators and other group members.