Critical Reflection as a Learning Tool for Nurse Supervisors: A Hermeneutic Phenomenological Study

Critical Reflection as a Learning Tool for Nurse Supervisors: A Hermeneutic Phenomenological Study

Author: 
Agnes Urbas-Llewellyn
Program of study: 
Ed.D.
Abstract: 
Critical reflection as a learning tool for nursing supervisors is a complex and multifaceted process not completely understood by healthcare leadership, specifically nurse supervisors. Despite a multitude of research studies on critical reflection, there remains a gap in the literature regarding the perceptions of the individual, the support required in the environment, and stimulus needed to integrate critical reflection into the nurse supervisor role. The purpose of this qualitative hermeneutic phenomenological study was to explore the meaning critical reflection has for nurse supervisors and the role of critical reflection within clinical practice settings. The data obtained through a modified vanKaam analysis employing NVivo 9 software revealed five themes concerning critical reflection. These five themes include (a) personal experience, (b) sources of valuing critical reflection, (c) self-awareness as primary competency, (d) time is a function of prioritization and (e) framework tools for workplace integration. Critical reflection meaning developed through nurse supervisors’ past experiences with critical incidents and a willingness to develop their own self-awareness. The role critical reflection plays in the environment can be enhanced through making it a priority in the workplace and providing training necessary to increase understanding of the process. Workplace integration requires developing nurse supervisors’ facilitation skills. The study findings support the underlying value critical reflection holds as a significant part of supporting organizational transformation toward a learning organization culture.
Dedication: 
I would like to dedicate this paper to my husband, Terry W. Llewellyn. In 1973 I was blessed to have this wonderful person come into my life, take my hand, and hold on all these years. His strength, belief in us, and love has made this journey possible. I look forward to having more time for us to share after graduation. Completion of this program and paper would not have been possible without the sacrifices and support given me by my husband. I am forever grateful for the presence of this man in my life.
Acknowledgements: 
I would like to thank my Chair and mentor, Dr. Lillestol. Dr. Lillestol has been a dedicated supporter and gone beyond expectations to guide and cheer me through this process. I would also like to thank my committee members, Drs. Terrell and Yackley. You both have provided insight and come to my aid when completion of this paper seemed far away. Dr. Yackley, your encouragement many years ago gave me the strength to pursue this goal. I know I am a better person because of your guidance. I would like to thank the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) IRB board in Washington, D.C. for their review and support throughout the process of approval. I am in awe of the dedication and professionalism of this group. A special thank you for her assistance to Dr. Ruby Wesley-Shadow, Associate Chief Nurse for Education and Research, Washington D.C. VA Medical Center. Dr. Wesley-Shadow has been a friend and colleague for many years. Her support and advocacy will always be cherished. Thank you to the VA Martinsburg staff, including Dr. John Foley, Chair of the Research Committee, Shannon Clever, the best librarian in the country, and Ms. Susan George, Associate Director, Patient Care Services for their support. I would also like to thank the nursing staff who participated in this research. Your time, honesty, and dedication to create excellence in veteran care are admired, and I hope through this paper to help create a culture of reflection. I would like to thank Mary Ellen Carew for her editorial work and guidance to craft this paper. Finally, I would like to thank my friends Bill and Patty Wright, Cindy Pellegrino, and Barbara Hartman. Thanks for listening, and for your wisdom and humor throughout this journey. I am blessed to have such wonderful friends and supporters. I would like to thank my family, especially my father, William Urbas, for believing in me and being a wonderful supporter of my goals. To my mom, Agnes, who passed in 1998, I still believe you are by my side. Both of my parents instilled in me a love and value for learning. This love has carried me to many wonderful discoveries and enriched my life.