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Reflective Experience in the Residential Care Report (Assessment)

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Updated: Jan 16th, 2021

Reflection is a very critical element in nursing. This aspect may be used to serve two functions. In this case, reflection supports learning and individual. Essentially, the definitions of the term “reflection” was closely associated with critical thinking. There are different definitions that have been given to the aspect of reflection. However, it can be observed that emphasis is put on the “purposeful critical analysis of knowledge and experience, in order to achieve deeper meaning and understanding” (Mann, Gordon & MacLeod, 2009, p. 597). Therefore, reflection helps individuals to learn from the previous experiences while defining the way forward.

It has been acknowledged that reflection is critical to health professionals. In this respect, reflection plays an essential role in the health care profession. Notably, health profession entails both the theoretical and practical aspects. According to Andrist (2006), “reflective practice allows for the uncovering of knowledge embedded in practice and expands nursing knowledge” (p. 411). Reflection is said to fill the gap that exists between theory and practice (Andrist, 2006).

As noted previously, reflection is a very important aspect of the health profession (Richardson, 1995; Fulbrook, 2004). As a nurse caring for the aged and individuals with disabilities, I will make use of reflection in carrying out my nursing duties. Thus, I will need to adopt the ways in which I will express myself towards in the work environment. In this way, I will be able to connect with the patients under my care in a special and professional way. Different patients require different attention from the nurses. Therefore, I need special ways of understanding different patients in order to meet their expectations. In this way, I have to develop my skills in order to connect with the various categories of patients.

This unit on reflection has been very intriguing. I used to think that health professionals only practice what they are taught in school. However, the aspect of reflection requires an individual to adopt new skills from the experience and adjust while interacting with others (Jasper, 2006). In this respect, this unit has been instrumental in bridging the gap between what is taught in class and then real work environment (Rolfe, et al., 2010; Glaze, 2002). Therefore, I can proudly say that the unit has provided a missing link between theory and practice in my chosen profession.

In Australia, the aged care and disability services are often confined in a single residential aged care. Therefore, it is possible to find young individuals who are disabled living with the aged in residential care units (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2012). My visit to one of the residential aged care in the country put to test what we had learnt in class. I found that I had to use personal skills in relating to the people in the residential care. The way I would treat the aged is not the same way I was to relate to the young disabled individuals.

My interaction with the older persons was quite challenging. This is due to the wide age gap between us. This was also based on my previous experience when I visited other residential care in the past. Nonetheless, the unit on reflection proved critical. I was able to bond well with the aged. In this regard, I made them feel appreciated by engaging them in discussions. I was attentive to them, and I could offer to assist when I realized that they were struggling. For instance, when they wanted to move around, I would offer to hold their hand and help them move.

During my visit to the residential care, I was able to analyse and compare what I had learnt with the practical aspect. From the nursing classes, we were taught that old people are frail and weak. This painted a picture of individuals who will solely depend on others to live well. However, when I visited the residential home, I discovered that some of the old people could handle some simple aspects. For instance, some could move around without independently. However, their movement was slow and supported by the walking stick. Therefore, not all aged people are solely dependent on nurse’s assistance.

The experience I encountered in the residential care was great. I came to learn that the old people are human and can be engaged in discussions. Initially, I thought the aged were troublesome and very challenging to handle. However, my experience with the old people at the residential care proved me otherwise. They were friendly and interesting. In fact, I was able to make friends in the shot while we stayed together. I realized that establishing rapport is very critical in working with the aged.

In reflecting experience, I have used two main skills. These include group reflection and guided reflection. In regard to group reflection, I was able to reflect on real-life occurrences together with a group of practitioners in the field (Smith & Jack 2005). Thus, I engaged other nurses in developing solutions and knowledge. On the other hand, guided reflection involved questioning getting the insights of other practitioners who have vast experience in the field. In this respect, I engaged established nurses in the residential care to learn. This was critical in enhancing my learning about the profession from the experienced staff (Howatson-Jones, 2010).

Aged care and disability services form a special aspect in the provision of health care. The aged and individuals with disabilities need a lot of care and understanding. These are people who depend on others for assistance in various aspects of life. In order to make them feel good, they should be appreciated and made to feel positive about life. The aged and the disabled should not be isolated due to their condition. Instead, they should be incorporated into the society and encouraged to live positively.

The experience that I had in the residential care was quite different from the previous encounter. When I was in high school, we organized to visit a residential care for the aged and the disabled. I was very young then, and I had not figured what I wanted to be in life. My perception of life in the residential care was different from what I now know. I thought that it was very challenging to work with such individuals. During that time, I thought the aspect of taking care of these people was tiresome and boring.

The perception I held previously about the aged care and disability services has greatly changed. I have come to understand that the aged and disabled members of the society are not difficult to handle. Indeed, I found out that working with them was quite interesting. They are easy going, and what one should first establish rapport. Listening to these individuals makes them feel appreciated. Contrary to belief that these individuals are not exciting, I found that they are very exciting. Thus, it is easy to engage them in games and other activities.

Having noted a great interest in the aged care and disability services, there are other aspects that I would aspire to understand in the future. Although I have visited residential cares on several occasions, I am yet to understand all the factors considered during the establishment of such residential cares. I would want to know whether the aspect of culture is considered when these care centres are established. People come from different cultural backgrounds, and this should be factored in the care provided.

As a health professional in aged care, there is a lot that I can do to enhance these services. There is a need to ensure that aged care services are separate from the disability services. This will ensure that the services are not mixed up. The aged need special and different care services compared to the disabled since they may have a very wide age gap. Since disability is not restricted by age, young people often find themselves in residential care with the aged (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2012). Age is critical in the social interaction of the individual thus the two categories of services should be separated.

As a health professional working with the disabled individuals, I would call for the independence of these services. As noted, these services are in some situation combined with the aged care services. This is not a good move given that some young individuals may find themselves in the same residential care as the aged (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2012).

References

Andrist, L.C. (2006). A history of nursing ideas. Sudbury, Mass. [u.a.: Jones and Bartlett.

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2012). Introduction to disability and disability services in Australia. Web.

Fulbrook, P. (2004). Realizing advanced nursing practice through reflection. Nursing in Critical Care, 9 (6): 255-256.

Glaze, J.E., (2002). Stages in coming to terms with reflection: student advanced nurse practitioners’ perceptions of their reflective journeys. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 37 (3), 265-272.

Howatson-Jones, L. (2010). Reflective practice in nursing. Exeter: Learning Matters.

Jasper, M. (2006). Reflection, Decision-Making and Professional Development. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing.

Mann, K., Gordon, J. & MacLeod, A. (2009). Reflection and reflective practice in health professions education: a systematic review. Adv in Health Sci Educ 14 (4): 595–621.

Richardson, R. (1995). Humpty Dumpty: reflection and reflective nursing practice. J Adv Nurs. 21 (6): 1044-50.

Rolfe, G., et al. (2010). Critical Reflection in Practice: Generating Knowledge for Care. Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave McMillan.

Smith, A. & Jack, K. (2005). Reflective practice: a meaningful task for students. Nursing Standard, 19 (26): 33-7.

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