Developing a Professional Working Theory Through Critical Reflection

  • Fiona Timmins

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    In keeping with the University guidelines and current literature on the topic this portfolio is an intense and personal document that resembles an autobiography of my professional life. Reflection and analysis form key components of the portfolio development. The task of demonstrating coherence and continuity between publications and projects is an inherent challenge of the portfolio route. I developed this portfolio as a collection of evidence of both the products and processes of learning that attests to my personal and professional development and achievement. The products are demonstrated within my two main projects (Timmins 2002 page 131, Timmins 2005 page 298) and associated publications and international presentations. The process of my learning has been examined and professed through reflection upon these projects and subsequently analysed and presented in the overarching statement. The aim of my portfolio is to provide a reflective overview of these two projects to highlight coherence between projects and identify my unique contribution to knowledge. This thesis reports on the development and use of a framework for reflection that best suited this purpose. I also construct my professional working theory as a result of this critical reflection.

    This framework proved invaluable to uncover the connections between my projects and the inherent meaning of my portfolio. What began as a series of disparate products (articles, conference presentations, books) the use of the framework for critical reflection enabled me not only to elicit inherent connections but to gain a new clarity about my own professional development
    and motivation that was previously unknown. Using the framework for critical reflection enabled to me to identify themes from reflection upon my projects:
    disempowerment, knowledge, emancipation and empowerment.

    These themes appear implicitly in several recent studies in the Republic of Ireland. Ultimately the impetus for my projects was rooted in my own professional disempowerment. Obedience was a pattern intrinsic to the social fabric of nursing in Republic of Ireland. The identified themes resonate not only my professional growth within but also the current orientation of the nursing profession in the Republic of Ireland. Using the framework for critical reflection also permitted me to outline my original contribution to knowledge. This originality is reflected in the public provision of knowledge to nurses in the area of nursing clients with coronary heart disease. This includes a reorientation of informational support towards symptom management and encouraging a critical awareness of previously used research methods. There is also an original contribution to the ongoing development of nursing practice with the suggested critique; adaptation and use of conceptual models of nursing in coronary care units.
    Date of Award2006
    Original languageEnglish


    • Nursing

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