Reflections on clinical learning in novice speech-language therapy students

Hill, Anne E., Davidson, Bronwyn J. and Theodoros, Deborah G. (2012) Reflections on clinical learning in novice speech-language therapy students. International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders, 47 4: 413-426. doi:10.1111/j.1460-6984.2012.00154.x

Author Hill, Anne E.
Davidson, Bronwyn J.
Theodoros, Deborah G.
Title Reflections on clinical learning in novice speech-language therapy students
Journal name International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1368-2822
Publication date 2012-07
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/j.1460-6984.2012.00154.x
Volume 47
Issue 4
Start page 413
End page 426
Total pages 14
Place of publication John Wiley & Sons
Publisher Oxford, United Kingdom
Collection year 2013
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Background: Reflective practice is reported to enhance clinical reasoning and therefore to maximize client outcomes. The inclusion of targeted reflective practice in academic programmes in speech–language therapy has not been consistent, although providing opportunities for speech–language therapy students to reflect during their clinical practice has been reported. Indeed, there has been limited investigation of the nature of speech–language therapy students’ reflections.

(1) To describe the breadth and depth of reflection skills of novice speech–language therapy students by utilizing structured reflective learning journals. (2) To evaluate the use of a coding system to determine its reliability and relevance in identifying reflection skills.

Methods & Procedures:
Participants were 52 students in their second year of a 4-year undergraduate speech–language therapy programme. Mean participant age was 20.5 years; all students were female. Participants completed guided written reflections following three interviews with a standardized patient (an actor portraying a parent of a child with delayed speech development). Reflections were coded by two raters. Nine participants’ reflections were recoded by raters A and B to establish intra-rater reliability. Inter-rater reliability between these two raters was calculated and a third rater completed coding of 20% of students’ reflections to further establish inter-rater reliability.

Outcomes & Results:
Results indicated that the majority of students were categorized as ‘reflectors’. All students demonstrated at least one element of reflection. Their reflective writing primarily focused on a discussion of the content of and strategies used within the interviews, and reflection on and for action. Results also indicated that the coding system used within the study was reliable in determining both the breadth and depth of student reflections.

Conclusions & Implications:
This study found that novice speech–language therapy students can reflect on their clinical learning experiences within a structured clinical environment involving standardized patients. Only a small number of novice students were found to be critical reflectors who were able to analyse the content of clinical interviews, view the interaction from the perspective of the patient, and record changes to their own perspective which occurred as a result. The coding system was established as reliable and thus relevant for use in furthering research on reflective practice within speech–language therapy and other disciplines. Further investigation of reflective skills within other clinical environments and with additional clinical experience is recommended.
Keyword Reflection
Reflective practice
Clinical learning
Speech-language therapy students
Reflection coding
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2013 Collection
School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 5 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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