Reflective practices for veterinary nurses

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Morton, Clare
Author ORCID Profiles (clickable)
Master of Professional Practice
Otago Polytechnic
Woodward, David
Taylor, Jeremy
Masters Thesis
Ngā Upoko Tukutuku (Māori subject headings)
Otago (N.Z.)
New Zealand
Otago Polytechnic courses
veterinary nurses
veterinary nurse educators
veterinary nursing students
veterinary education
reflective practice
well being
Morton, C. (2022). Reflective practices for veterinary nurses (Unpublished document submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Professional Practice). Otago Polytechnic, New Zealand.
Reflective practice is a skill that is currently underutilised in the veterinary industry. Teaching reflectiveness to our veterinary nurses and educators is part of looking at how we can improve mental wellbeing and create sustainability in our industry. Reflective models from Schon (1983) and Gibbs (1998) were adapted and utilised depending on where and how the reflecting was undertaken. I surveyed educators and veterinary nurses about their views on reflective practices and how they were used in the classroom and vet clinics. Additionally, how they practiced reflectiveness personally and within their work teams. I employed surveys and questionnaires as part of a grounded theory approach (Glaser & Strauss, 1967). My findings showed a wide range of understanding of reflectiveness and how it can be used. It also indicated that our educators range from those who practice reflectiveness to those who are unsure of what it means. We need to teach our educators this skill before introducing it to our students. Educators who become familiar with reflectiveness can teach this to students using adapted reflective models and, by using journals or diaries, can guide them through the steps of reflection. By teaching our students reflective practices, graduates can take these techniques into the industry and use them effectively to overcome stress and compassion fatigue. The conclusions from my research have shown that there are two different types of reflective practice. Firstly, we seek to teach our students reflective writing to an academic level and aim to see a learning progression throughout their studies. Secondly, reflective practices in the veterinary industry promote a sustainable work/life balance and may include such activities as exercise, arts, and contact with family and friends. Recommendations include using reflective models designed for our students and using reflective journals as a formative task allowing feedback to be provided in preparation for summative assessments. Finally, to use reflective practices within our vet nursing school to enable educators to become comfortable teaching this to our learners so they can take this learning out into veterinary practice.
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