A Qualitative Investigation Into Nurses' Experiences Of Reflection In Caring For Cancer Patients

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A Qualitative Investigation into Nurses' Experiences of Reflection in Caring for Cancer Patients



Background to the Study1

Aim of the Study1

The Nature of the Study1

Objectives of the Study2

Research Question2


Section 16

Caring as a Concept6

The Care giving Experience7

Caring for Cancer Patients and their Families10

Section 212

Reflective Practice12

Reflection in Nursing Practice15


Hermeneutic Phenomenology20

Qualitative versus quantitative research21

Instrument for data collection21

Research design22


Research Setting24

Data Collection Method24

Ethical Considerations24





Data Analysis27



Background to the Study

Reflection enables the practitioner to explore, understand and develop meaning and also highlights contradictions between theory and practice (An Bord Altranais, 2000). Reflection has been a term used by various researchers and educators as a tool to enhance the professional development of the nurse which in turn implies better nursing care for patients. Furthermore, reflection can be described as a means of critically analyzing practice so as to promote learning, professional integrity and ultimately improve patient care. The nursing care of patients with cancer has been described as stressful, challenging and emotionally demanding, requiring advanced skills and knowledge. However, with the need to improve patient care and ensure high standards of care (Wood, 2000), there needs to be further exploration into the use of reflection in nurses' clinical practice.

Aim of the Study

The researcher aims to explore the experiences of reflection by staff nurses working within the area of Cancer Care in Ireland.

The Nature of the Study

This qualitative study used the phenomenological method. Creswell (1994) described qualitative research as being an inquiry process that investigates a social or human problem. According to Bowling (1997), qualitative research focuses on the qualities of words and actions. The participants' words allow the qualitative researcher to interpret a human phenomenon and make sense of a phenomenon regarding the meanings people bring to it. Bowling posited that qualitative research methods have advantages over quantitative methods because of pre-existing knowledge. A phenomenological approach was utilized to disclose the use of reflection in treating cancer patients. Creswell (1994) noted the phenomenological approach reveals the participants' experiences concerning a phenomenon. Unlike other methods, “phenomenology is rooted in questions that give a direction and focus for meaning”. Therefore, the phenomenological method was chosen because it is most suitable to comprehending the meaning of the participants' experiences. In a phenomenological approach, it is essential that the researcher reserve ideas and assumptions about the phenomenon (Burns, 2005). The rationale for using the phenomenological research approach and reasons other methods were rejected.

Objectives of the Study

The following are the objectives set for this research.

To explore and gain an in-depth understanding of staff nurses lived experiences of using reflection in their clinical practice in Ireland.

To gain an in-depth understanding of staff nurses experiences of using reflection in Ireland and his may contribute to new nursing knowledge.

Research Question

The following is the research question addressed in this research

What are the nurses' experiences of reflection in clinical practice in Ireland?


Nurses caring for cancer patients endeavour to provide the best possible nursing care. In order to achieve this, practice must be constantly improved by incorporating research ...
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