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Gastroenterology Nursing:
doi: 10.1097/01.SGA.0000305221.78403.e9
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How Reflective Practice Improves Nurses' Critical Thinking Ability

Cirocco, Maria MA, BScN, RN

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Abstract

Purposeful reflection is consistent with adult learning theory. It is known to lead to a deeper understanding of issues and to develop judgment and skill. Required by law to ensure members' competence in their professional practice, the College of Nurses of Ontario recommends and has developed a tool for evaluating reflective practice. The tool focuses on key attributes said to be demonstrated by competent practitioners, including critical thinking (CT) and job knowledge. This study aimed to determine whether nurses engage in reflective practice and whether they perceive that it enhances their CT ability. Surveys were sent to 60 gastroenterology nurses at a large teaching hospital; 34 surveys were anonymously returned. All respondents engaged in reflective practice, and 24 reported using the college's tool. Nineteen respondents strongly agreed that their nursing practice had improved as a result. Critical thinking is difficult to assess because of a lack of clear-cut performance criteria. Improvement of CT was difficult to evaluate from the responses, even though all respondents participated in reflective practice. Both CT and reflective practice need to be better defined in order to examine and explain their relationship.

© The Society of Gastroenterology Nurses & Associates 2007. All Rights Reserved.

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