Author: Alys Einion
The Bachelor of Midwifery at Swansea University requires students to complete a daily learning journal in their portfolio, consisting of a brief entry detailing significant learning or development experiences or activities. These journal entries are then used to produce summary evidence sheets to meet required learning outcomes. These texts constitute a narrative record of the process of learning, development and socialisation in both theory and practice throughout the three year programme, and offer invaluable insight into this process of becoming.
As part of a larger study analysing the narrative construction, identity formation and thematic content of a sample of 7 learning journals, an evaluation of the quality of writing was carried out, and guidelines developed for effective journal writing, which were then disseminated to students to improve their ability to produce higher quality journals which meet the learning outcomes of their practice modules. These learning outcomes include meeting the criteria associated with Nursing and Midwifery Council and European Union designated clinical competency domains.
A presentation and sample guide were developed and shared with all students on the programme (years 1, 2 and 3) in order to target more effective reflective writing within the limitations of the daily learning log. Prior to the implementation of the new guidance, students used the diaries to inform summative evidence sheets which had to be written at the end of each year of the programme. After the implementation of the new guidance, students were able to move to simply using the journals as their source of evidence, signposting the different skills and competence domains more effectively. A critical reflection of the implementation process concludes this paper with recommendations for the effective use of learning journals.