Teacher candidates’ reflective teaching and learning in a hospital setting – changing the pattern of practical training: a challenge to growing into teacherhood
Aims of the project. The main goal of the ‘teacher candidates’ reflective teaching and learning’ project was to integrate theories of reflection in education and nursing practice. This was realised through teacher candidates’ practical training in a hospital setting providing them with personal experiences of reflection in different forms and contexts. In this paper one teacher candidate pair’s experiences of developing documentation in one operating theatre are described.
Background. The power of reflection is acknowledged in health care education and, on the other hand, also in nursing practice. Reflection, however, is not spontaneous but it requires active contribution. The key persons in this respect seem to be healthcare teachers. The challenges for today are that, for example, the theoretical background of reflection is multi-fold and that the concept of reflection is popularised in common use.
Design of the project. The project (1995–1998) was accomplished in one of the biggest university hospitals in Finland. On the collaborating wards, systematic team supervision was in progress. Teacher candidates planned and implemented in-service-training modules for teams based on educational needs raised during team supervision sessions.
Findings. The contribution of the project can be assessed as important to health care teacher education, but also to nursing practice. Practical training in a hospital setting enhanced teacher candidates’ ability to work as teachers in a hospital organisation as well as a nursing college/polytechnic by providing them with a new viewpoint. They learned valuable lessons from applying theory, as planning in-service-training required continuous reflective discussion with the nursing staff but also theoretical reflection. Improvements in nursing practice were also promoted as staff educational needs were met.
Conclusions. Shifting the teacher candidates’ practical training into a hospital setting and emphasising reflection seemed to promote their professional development towards teacherhood and improve nursing practice.