Reflective practice in nursing care: Embedded assumptions in qualitative studies

Authors

  • Christine Gustafsson RNT MSc,

    Corresponding author
    1. Lecturer, Doctoral Student, Department of Neurobiology, Caring Science and Society, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, and Department of Caring and Public Health Sciences, Mälardalen University, Eskilstuna Västerås, Sweden
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  • Margareta Asp RNT BSc PhD,

    1. Senior Lecturer, Director of Studies, Department of Caring and Public Health Sciences, Mälardalen University, Eskilstuna Västerås, Sweden
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  • Ingegerd Fagerberg RNT

    1. Associate Professor, Department of Caring and Public Health Sciences, Mälardalen University, Eskilstuna Västerås, Sweden
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  • Contributions: study design: CG, MA, IF; data collection: CG; data inclusion: CG, MA, IF; data analysis: CG, MA, IF; manuscript preparation: CG, MA, IF.

Christine Gustafsson, Department of Caring and Public Health Sciences, Mälardalen University, PO Box 325, SE-631 05 Eskilstuna, Sweden. Email: christine.gustafsson@mdh.se

Abstract

Qualitative nursing researchers have long recognized that reflective practice (RP) seems to be a valuable tool in nursing care. The aim of the present meta-study was to analyse current qualitative research on RP in nursing care, in order to create and synthesize the knowledge and the understanding of registered nurses' RP. Using a meta-study synthesis approach, embedded assumptions were identified in qualitative studies that have influenced the way researchers have interpreted and made sense of RP in nursing care. Despite empirical focus in research on RP in nursing care, it was found that assumptions about RP were predominantly based on theory. The reflective movement within the practice of nursing care has mainly a constructivist epistemology, based on learning from experience. The individual nurse's RP capability is essential in providing and improving ethical and holistic nursing care.

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