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Journal of Nursing

The Benefits of Keeping a Nursing Journal

Maureen Kroning RN EdD [email protected]

Each day, nurses are playing a crucial role in someone’s life. They are a part of so many incredible stories and often they are not even aware of just how incredible their stories are and the impact these stories have on themselves, their patients, their own colleagues and their healthcare facilities. Most nurses will tell you that healthcare has changed drastically over the years and they probably would not say for the better. As nurses, we often practice in chaotic environments; one that is so vastly changing and one that is so hard to keep up with it. Keeping a nursing journal can not only put a voice to our unique nursing stories but can provide so many other benefits.
Journals can preserve certain monumental memoires, assist nurses in sharing their stories, can provide learning opportunities, identify nursing strengths and weaknesses and be the avenue towards professional, personal, emotional and spiritual growth. As a nursing educator, we require students to write a weekly journal so that the student will be able to reflect on their clinical experience and identify their strengths, weaknesses and spiritual growth. Over the years reading student journals helped me as an educator learn from our future nurses and see a world through their eyes. What if the students, the patients, our colleagues, our administrators could learn from us, to see nursing from our eyes? Nurses no matter how long they have been practicing in the field of nursing can benefit from journaling.
It is absolutely vital that nurses care for themselves as they do so well for others and find the time and space to utilize reflective journaling (Jennell, 2010). According to Penn & Lund (2004) being able to reflect on practice can foster critical thinking, create self-awareness, provide an avenue for self-examination and develop nurses into reflective practitioners. Professionals are encouraging the role of reflection in order to engage in reflective practice (Dunlap, 2006). Nurses have been tasked with more and more responsibilities at work and often function in chaotic environments with little time to reflect on their day to day practice. Journaling can provide the outlet for nurses to reflect on the nursing care provided, interaction with staff, students, patients and their family and friends and so much more. Journaling can be an effective meditative activity that is so needed in today’s healthcare environment. Perhaps, journaling can also be the medium or link between the nurse and the healthcare facility administrators. This link can be the tool used to promote effective communication among various roles within the healthcare facility. Effective communication is a vital aspect needed to improve both nurse and patient satisfaction.
Healthcare institutions are recognizing the stress their employees are experiencing and looking for innovative ways help their staff reduces these stressors. Journaling can be an easy to implement strategy to help nurses reduce their stresses and at the same time gain professional, personal, emotional and spiritual growth. Perhaps, allowing nurses opportunities to share their reflections captured through the art of journaling can provide an outlet for nurses to share stories, feelings and emotions and even help improve nurse and patient satisfaction.
Dunlap, J. (2006). Using Guided Reflective Journaling Activities to Capture Students’ Changing Perceptions. TechTrends.
Jennell,C. (2010). Journaling Creating Space for “I”. Creative Nursing. 16(4) 180-184.
Penny, K. & Lund, C. (2004). Reflective Journaling Developing an Online Journal for Distance Education. Nurse Educator. 29(1). 20-24.

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