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Reflecting on practice

Excerpt from the quality assurance web module

Nurses regularly seek feedback from their peers 

Rajinder and Pauline often work together. They’ve come to respect each other and are comfortable sharing thoughts about their practice. On one shift, the husband of one of Pauline’s patients told her he was concerned that his wife’s medications were impacting her mentally. He was anxious and didn’t seem to understand Pauline’s explanations. After several tense minutes, Pauline was able to somewhat calm him down and he accepted her suggestion to discuss his concerns with his wife’s physician. He left the unit still visibly agitated.

Reflecting and questioning

Pauline wondered how else she could decreased his anxiety and answered his questions. She walked over to the nursing station where Rajinder was completing documentation and, knowing he had likely overheard the conversation, said, “Wow. That was hard. You heard that, right? I was really struggling trying to help him. What did you think? Was the information I gave him okay? Was I clear in my explanations? He seemed to have a hard time grasping what I was trying to say. And I wish I could have helped decrease his anxiety – any thoughts on what I did and what else I might have added?” 

Getting peer feedback

Rajinder looked up from his documentation, was quiet for a moment, and then said: “I thought your information was appropriate. There was enough detail without being overwhelming. I think his comprehension issues were related to his anxiety. In terms of helping him with that – you did a lot of good things – you listened well, your voice tone was even and your body language welcoming. The one thing I might have done was to try to find out more about his previous experiences with his wife’s health issues. He seemed pretty wound up. It made me wonder what else is feeding his anxiety. Does that help?”

Reflecting and improving

Pauline nodded thoughtfully and thanked Rajinder. “Yes, that’s great. It’s good to know I am basically on track… and I’ll see if I can find an opportunity some other time to learn more about what led up to these events for his wife. Okay, I’m off to my patients.”

Explore peer feedback through the quality assurance web module. Case discussion begins on slide 54.

As well as finding ways to build informal feedback into your work life, you may want to seek and receive feedback more formally on your nursing practice. How do you receive feedback? (PDF)

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