Reflections on clinical practice whilst developing a portfolio of evidence: Perceptions of undergraduate nursing students at a university in the Western Cape, South Africa
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BACKGROUND: In order to develop clinical judgement, nurses should be encouraged to become analytical and critical thinkers. Development of a portfolio of evidence (PoE) of reflection on clinical experiences is one of the strategies that can be used to enhance analytical and critical thinking amongst nursing students. Students’ perceptions of the process are important in order to encourage their reflective practice. PoE compilation at a school of nursing at a university in the Western Cape includes evidence of students’ clinical learning which they present in a portfolio. The students are expected to reflect on their clinical learning experiences and include these reflections in their portfolios. OBJECTIVE: To describe the perceptions of fourth-year nursing students regarding reflective practice whilst compiling their PoEs. METHOD: A qualitative design was used to explore the perceptions of registered fourth-year nursing students with regard to their reflective practice whilst compiling their PoEs. Purposive sampling was used for selection of participants. Three focus group discussions were held, each consisting of six to eight participants. Data saturation was reached during the third meeting. Tesch’s method of data analysis was used. RESULTS: Findings revealed that reflection enabled the learners to gain experience and identify challenges related to the expected events and tasks carried out at the hospitals and in the classroom whilst developing their PoE. CONCLUSION: The compilation of a PoE was a good teaching and learning strategy, and the skills, experience and knowledge that the participants in this study acquired boosted their self-esteem, confidence and critical thinking. Reflection also assisted in self-directed learning.