Student reflections of psychiatric/mental health: Using journals and creative expressions

Melinda Hermanns, Barbara Haas


Second semester undergraduate nursing students in their psychiatric/mental health clinical rotation express an array of emotions as they frequently view the setting as foreign. Two assignments, reflective journaling and a form of expression were incorporated into clinical to provide students an opportunity to reflect and convey their thoughts and feelings concerning their clinical experiences. Thematic analysis was used to analyze 10 journals and 10 art forms with a written description. Two content themes emerged: A Change in Perspective and Insight. Exemplars of the students’ perspectives are provided. As evidenced by students’ submissions, reflective journaling and creative expression can be an effective and beneficial assignment for students grappling with the complexities of psychiatric/mental health nursing.

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Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

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

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