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Nurse Educ Pract. 2010 Sep;10(5):298-302. doi: 10.1016/j.nepr.2010.01.002. Epub 2010 Feb 25.

An exploratory evaluation of an action learning set within a mental health service.

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Department of Mental Health Liaison Nursing, Prince of Wales Hospital, Sydney, Australia.


Collaborative processes which enable problem solving and decision making are reported as being essential to professional practice within contemporary health care. Action learning is a process reported on as a systematic approach to effective problem solving, whilst action learning sets are increasingly being reported within the literature as conduits for learning. The essential elements involved in these processes are reported to be that of reflective inquiry and critical thinking to stimulate effective learning. This paper discusses the development of an action learning set within an acute mental health setting and evaluates the experience of participants within the set. Six participants completed a questionnaire regarding their experience of the action learning sets over a 6 month period. In general, participants found the sets; relevant to their working practice; important experiences of facilitation; important for engaging in reflective inquiry and critical thinking and effective for increasing problem solving abilities. The participants found creating a balance between high challenge and high support the most difficult part of the action learning process.

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