Writing Effective Journal In Nursing Education

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 Journaling In Nursing Education

Writing Effective Journal In Nursing Education

What Is Journaling,Journaling In Nursing Education,Impact of Journaling In Nursing Education,Outcomes of Journaling In Nursing Education.

What Is Journaling

    Journaling is the act of writing or recording one's thoughts, feelings, and experiences in a journal, a process that can be achieved by hand or electronically. It may be marked or graded, and may contain scholarly references and structured questions designed to guide the writer.

Journaling In Nursing Education

    In education in general and nursing education in particular, journaling is used primarily as a tool for research to enhance the learning experience of students. As a research tool, the journal contributes to data collection and is analyzed against the research question. For learning purposes, the journal is assigned as part of the expected course work. Students, however, may choose to continue to journal on completion of the course, particularly if they found it useful and helpful in their learning.

    The process of journaling involves multiple entries. The actual number and length of the entries, however, is contingent on the expectations of the instructor and/or the purpose of the journal. The journal might only be read by the instructor, by the instructor and other students; or not at all by anyone but the writer. For example, the student might be required to generate a number of journal entries, as well as write a subsequent reflection about the journaling experience that is then marked.

Impact of Journaling In Nursing Education

    As a teaching and learning strategy, journaling has been supported by numerous renowned theorists including Dewey (1916), Kolb (1984), and Schon (1987). Dewey characterized experience as either active (undertaking an activity) or passive (undergoing the consequences). He believed reflective patterns of thought must be taught and learning and growth take place only through the cycle of reflecting and drawing on past experiences. Kolb (1984) developed a cycle of learning whereby a student learns by doing, reflects on these actions, and then assesses performance with the guidance of his or her preceptor. 

    Schon's (1987) seminal book on reflective journaling spurred nurse educators to use more journaling assignments as a way to promote reflection.There are several studies on the quality of the content in student journals, their level of reflection, their ability to think critically, and the process in which they engage to link theory and practice experiences (Epp. 2008; Harrison & Fopma - Loy , 2010 ), Benefits of journaling identified include decreasing stress, increasing satisfaction with learning, enhancing emotional competence, and learning about ethics (McMillian Coddington , 2013). Overall, it has been found that the use of journaling is more beneficial than detrimental to student learning.

Outcomes of Journaling In Nursing Education

    Journaling is an excellent tool to enhance student learning. Educators, however, need to be aware that there are a variety of issues that must be considered. First, there are differences of opinion as to whether journals should be marked or graded. Given that the journal is designed to be a safe learning tool with which the student can reflect on his or her own development as a nurse, it can be premature or even inappropriate to assign a mark/grade. Moreover, students may not feel safe in their reflections and instead write what they think the instructor would like to read.Furthermore, when students are expected to answer specific questions and to provide references, the journal becomes a formal assignment that resembles an essay. 

    Second, the formal assignment of journaling increases the marking time for the educator; Thus, some educators may ask students to share their journal with each other for the purpose of providing peer feedback. This act, although well meaning, can have ethical consequences if the journal contains self disclosures . Third, educators are expected to write and reflect on their own experiences as part of scholarly teaching. Educators should develop and integrate journaling activities into their own teaching practice. If the educator decides to use journaling as an assignment, it is important to consider all the factors that must be considered for student-centered learning.

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