University of Pretoria Bachelor of Nursing Science students use Mandalas to boost theoretical understanding of medical-surgical nursing

Posted on March 31, 2023

The academic year for the second-year nursing students in the Department of Nursing Science at the University of Pretoria began on 13 February 2023 with an orientation week.The orientation week aimed to introduce and teach the BNURII  group theoretical and practical contents that form the foundation of medical-surgical nursing over the lifespan. Scope included theory and practical application of physical and nutritional assessment, infant feeding, kangaroo care, fluid balance, all aspects of wound care, ethical principles, including UBUNTU, and reflection.

 The students were introduced to principles of health and illness-related concepts that covered a broad spectrum of information. 

Mrs. Seugnette Rossouw, lecturer in the Department of  Nursing Science said the orientation week was of educational importance to allow the students an opportunity for reflection to visualize their understanding of the learning content.
"Instead of asking each student to write a reflective report to narrate their individual learning journey, an arts-based approach was favoured, using mandalas" she added. 


Self-selected groups started by being asked to reflect on individual learning by answering the question: What did I learn this week? Students were asked not to speak to each other during this reflective activity. The students worked together in their respective groups to design, construct and paint their mandalas. Students were then asked to collaboratively include all the answers from their individual reflections to illustrate the learning during the week. A short explanation was given about the central focus of the mandala, but in-depth discussions were withheld to allow the students the freedom to reason, use deep reflection, and become creative. Fabric, paint, foam squares, and brushes were provided.



Small group discussions and feedback followed after the mandalas were painted to allow sharing of creations and reflections. One student narrated that they were hopeless during their first year (in 2022) but the activity gave them hope and focus for the future.


- Author Seugnette Rossouw

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