Reflective writing: What do BSN students write about and why?

Regions: North Slave Region

Tags: social sciences

Principal Investigator: Durnford, Kerry Lynn (2)
Licence Number: 16612
Organization: Aurora College
Licensed Year(s): 2019
Issued: Aug 22, 2019
Project Team: Kerry Lynn Durnford; Lea Barbosa Leclerc; Lydia Montana; Heather Cane; Karyn Unrau;

Objective(s): To collect reflective writing assignments from Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) students to identify what affects and informs BSN students choice of reflective topic or theme, and to explore student's understanding of the reflective writing process and its importance to nursing practice.

Project Description: This licence has been issued for the scientific research application No.4552.

The objectives of this study are:
1) to collect reflective writing assignments from Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) students to identify themes from practice experiences;
2) to identify what affects and informs BSN students choice of reflective topic or theme, and;
3) to explore student's understanding of the reflective writing process and its importance to nursing practice.

The study has two parts. First, the researchers will analyze the student’s reflective writing assignments using narrative and thematic analysis. This will allow researchers to identify themes. Second, focus groups will be held with BSN students to understand how they engage with the reflective writing process; how they decide what to write about; the experiences that shape their decisions about reflective writing; and the supports they need to be reflective writers. These focus groups will take place in June 2020 and June 2021.

All reflective assignments will be collected by the course teacher and submitted to a staff member of the School of Health and Human Services.,. This staff member will have the consent forms and will identify students who have consented to participate in the research project. They will identify the assignments of these consenting students, remove their name and any other identifiers from the assignment, and then provide a hard copy to the research team. These assignments will not be provided to the team until after the nursing practice courses are complete and marks submitted for the academic year (in June 2020 and 2021). The assignments will not be read by the research team until the end of the school year. This will provide the team with multiple samples of assignments, reducing the possibility of the student being identified.

Participants in this study will be students in years one, two, three and four of the BSN program at Aurora College, and enrolled in the Nursing Practice and Consolidated Practice Experience (CPE) courses (courses where reflective assignments are used as evaluative method). Students will be recruited at the beginning of the semester (September, December and April) of each year. A member of the research team will speak with the students in each year of the program, after their course orientation. A letter of consent will be provided.

The only demographics that will be collected for this research are whether the student is in year one, two, three or four. The assignment will be labeled by this staff member as Student 1- Year 1, or Student 1-Year 2, for example. The decision not to include demographics such as gender and ethnicity is intentional due to the small size of the classes and the short time frame for data collection, meaning anonymity for some groups, (i.e., males) would be difficult to ensure.

As this study involves students and staff in the nursing program only, results will be shared with them. This will take place at the annual BSN student-staff research day in December 2021 (pending data analysis) or 2022. Results from the study that might help staff to help students with their writing, will be shared with staff of the nursing program in the spring or fall of 2022, at the end of the study.

The fieldwork for this study will be conducted from September 3, 2019 to December 31, 2019.