Abstract: Background: The purpose of this pilot study was to describe and explain how faculty operationalized, implemented and evaluated progression in reflective thinking as a key student transformational learning outcome in a newly created doctor of nursing practice (DNP) program. Methods: In this pilot study, study participants (N=7) were full-time DNP students, with six having a nurse practitioner background. The key concepts of reflective thinking and transformational learning were operationalized through the use of a structured learning ePortfolio and a Reflective Writing Assignment that students completed at both mid- and end-of- program. Faculty gave students feedback using a Reflective Thinking Rubric. To measure progression in students’ reflective thinking, a paired samples t-test was conducted to compare faculty ratings of students’ Reflective Writing Assignments using the rubric from mid- to end-of-program. Results: Results demonstrated a significant difference in Reflective Thinking Rubric scores from mid- (M=1.9, SD=0.47) to end-of-program (M=2.5, SD=0.34); t = 4.11, p =.01, indicating a positive progression in students’ transformative reflective thinking and learning. Conclusion: Through attention to student reflective thinking and learning, the development of communities of inquiry are encouraged that are so important to the continued development of nursing knowledge and practice. Thus, structures, processes and teaching strategies that support transformational reflective thinking are important educational design components that deserve continued research.
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