Nurse leaders’ perceptions of the impact of their participation in a reflective practice program

Mélanie Lavoie-Tremblay, Guylaine Cyr, Gilbert Primeau, Thalia Aube


Since 2003, a university healthcare centre in Quebec (Canada) has offered its nursing leaders access to a long-term professional development program focusing on skills in Reflective Practice (RP). This program is based on teaching nursing leaders to interpret and reframe difficult, emotionally-charged situations they encounter on a regular basis, so they can improve their interpersonal interactions with their colleagues, patients, and patients’ families. This article describes the results of a qualitative study conducted in 2018 with 18 nursing leaders who participated for at least three years in the RP program. Participants were asked to describe their understanding of the RP approach, key learnings from the program, and parts of the training they found most valuable. They were also asked to define or share the program’s impact on their professional practice and leadership skills. It was found that the participants view RP as a useful tool for understanding and improving their interactions with others, and that it had led to concrete improvements in their interpersonal and leadership skills. Several of the positive changes described by participants are rarely described in other studies about the use of RP as a professional development tool in a clinical nursing setting.  The results suggest that when nurse leaders have participated for several years in an RP program, they experience different benefits than front-line staff with less long-term participation.

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Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

ISSN 1925-4040 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4059 (Online)

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