Reflective practice and family care

This post courtesy of Anne Taylor-Vaisey: From the March 2005 issue of Journal of Advanced Nursing:

Peden-McAlpine C, Tomlinson PS, Forneris SG, Genck G, Meiers SJ. Evaluation of a reflective practice intervention to enhance family care. J Adv Nurs 2005; 49(5):494-501.

Aim. This paper discusses the design, evaluation and outcomes of a reflective practice intervention (RPI) that taught paediatric critical care nurses how to incorporate a family intervention into their practice.

Background. The literature on reflective practice contains numerous descriptions of reflective practice and various frameworks on how to engage in reflective practice. Additionally, there has been wide debate about t! he benefits of and problems with the use of reflective practice. However, few empirical studies have been done to evaluate its effectiveness in changing nursing practice.

Method. Van Manen's phenomenological research approach was adapted for use in this study. This approach was consistent with the experiential nature of reflective practice. Interviews were conducted with eight staff nurse participants after the RPI to determine changes in family practice. Analysis of the interview text produced three essential themes.

Findings. Three interrelated themes describe change in the nurses' experiences as a result of participating in the RPI:

(1) acknowledging and re-framing preconceived ideas about families,

(2) recognizing the meaning of family stress and

(3) beginning to incorporate the family into nursing care.

Conclusions. The RPI stimulated double loop learning that changed paediatric critical care nurses' attitudes about family, enhanced their communication and ability to build trusting relationships with families and brought about a new appreciation of the uniqueness of family stress. There was a new integration of family care into the nurses' practice as a result of the intervention.


Correspondence: Cynthia Peden-McAlpine, School of Nursing,

University of Minnesota, 308 Harvard Street SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455,

USA. E-mail: [email protected]

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