• reflection;
  • advanced nurse practitioner;
  • awareness;
  • assertiveness;
  • empowerment;
  • perspective transformation;
  • valuing nursing;
  • deepening reflection qualitative research

Reflection as a transforming process: student advanced nurse practitioners’ experiences of developing reflective skills as part of an MSc programme

Aim of the study. The aim of this study was to explore student advanced nurse practitioners’ (ANPs) experiences of reflection.

Background. The implementation of a National Health Service (NHS) Executive initiative to develop a Master’s Course in advanced nursing practice at Wolverhampton University provided the background to the study. The course was designed to enable experienced nurses to take on activities previously considered the province of physicians. The aim was to extend practice within a holistic nursing framework. Reflection was perceived as central to this process. A pre-entry degree level reflective practice module and a reflective component for the level 4 (Master’s level) Practice Module were devised to enhance practitioners’ reflective skills.

Rationale. The rationale for the study was that it should explore student ANPs’ perceptions of reflection following completion of these modules, to evaluate their experiences and inform curriculum development.

Design/Methods. A qualitative methodology was used. The sample comprised 14 ANP students. Interviews and reflective learning contracts were used to collect the data. Colaizzi’s (1978) seven-stage model guided data analysis.

Findings. The findings indicated that all but one of the students described the development of their reflective skills positively. Changes are described in students’ thinking and behaviour.

Conclusions. The conclusions have implications for ANPs, for patient care, and for others seeking to develop the ANP role.