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Reflective practice groups for nurses: A consultation liaison psychiatry nursing initiative: Part 1 – the model


  • Chris Dawber

    Corresponding author
    1. Caboolture Hospital, Caboolture, Queensland, Australia
    • Redcliffe Hospital, Redcliffe, Australia
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    • Part one of two articles describing reflective practice groups for nurses at Redcliffe and Caboolture Hospitals facilitated by the consultation liaison psychiatry nurse.

  • Chris Dawber, MHN (ACMHN credentialed).
  • This paper was commenced as part of a Masters of Mental Health Nursing, and completed as an independent research project.

Correspondence: Chris Dawber, Consultation Liaison Psychiatry, Nambour Hospital, PO Box 547, Nambour, QLD 4560, Australia. Email:


In the present study, we outline the evolution of a process-focused reflective practice group (RPG) model for nurses working in clinical settings. The groups were initiated at Redcliffe and Caboolture hospitals by the consultation liaison psychiatry nurse and author. An associated article provides an evaluation of these RPG. The literature review identifies the key themes and theories on which the model is based, and the article outlines the process and practicalities of facilitating RPG in critical care, midwifery, and oncology specialties over a 3-year period. The model proposes that the effectiveness and sustainability of RPG arises from adequate preparation and engagement with prospective participants. Group rules, based on principles of confidentially, supportiveness, and diversity, were collaboratively developed for each group. Facilitation utilized a group-as-a-whole approach to manage process and stimulate reflection. While the purpose of RPG was a reflection on interpersonal aspects of nursing, contextual workplace issues were frequently raised in groups. Acknowledgement and containment of such issues were necessary to maintain clinical focus. The literature highlights facilitator credibility and style as crucial factors in the overall success of RPG, and it is proposed that reflective practice as a process-focused model for groups succeeds when nurse facilitators are trained in group process and receive concurrent supervision.