Developing reflective capacities in midwifery students: Enhancing learning through reflective writing

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Sweet, Linda Phyllis
Bass, Janice
Sidebotham, Mary
Fenwick, Jennifer
Graham, Kristen
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© 2018 Australian College of Midwives
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Australian College of Midwives
Practice-based or clinical placements are highly valued for linking theory to practice and enabling students to meet graduate outcomes and industry standards. Post-practicum, the period immediately following clinical experiences, is a time when students have an opportunity to share, compare and engage critically in considering how these experiences impact on their learning. Reflective practice has merit in facilitating this process. Aim This project aimed to optimise the learning potential of practice-based experiences by enhancing midwifery students’ capacity for reflective practice through writing. Methods Design-based research was used to implement an educational intervention aimed at developing reflective practice skills and enhance reflective writing. The Bass Model of Holistic Reflection was introduced to promote the development of reflective capacity in midwifery students. Academics and midwifery students were provided with guidance and resources on how to apply the model to guide reflective writing. Students’ written reflections completed before (n = 130) and after the introduction of the intervention (n = 96) were evaluated using a scoring framework designed to assess sequential development of reflective capacity. Findings The pre-intervention scores ranked poorly as evidence of reflective capacity. All scores improved post-intervention. Conclusions The introduction of a holistic structured model of reflection resulted in improved scores across all five components of reflective writing; self-awareness, sources of knowledge, reflection and critical reflection, evidence informed practice and critical thinking. While further work is required the results show that the implementation process and use of the Bass Model enables students to demonstrate their capacity to reflect-on-practice through their writing.
© 2018 Australian College of Midwives. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This author accepted manuscript is made available following 24 month embargo from date of publication (April 2019) in accordance with the publisher’s archiving policy.
Reflection, Reflective practice, Midwifery education, Competence, Midwife
Sweet, L., Bass, J., Sidebotham, M., Fenwick, J., & Graham, K. (2019). Developing reflective capacities in midwifery students: Enhancing learning through reflective writing. Women and Birth, 32(2), 119–126.