Service–Learning in Undergraduate Nursing Education: Where is the Reflection?

Janet Brown, Valparaiso University
Nola Schmidt, Valparaiso University


Service–Learning is recognized as a valuable pedagogy that involves experiential learning, reflection, and reciprocal learning. Reflection is a critical component because it assists students to develop critical thinking and social awareness as they reflect upon their experiential learning with community partners. Although there is a proliferation of literature about service–learning, upon closer examination, it is apparent that some authors do not place emphasis on reflection when reporting on service–learning projects. This begs the question, “Where is the reflection?” The purpose of this article is to provide an overview and describe misrepresentations and exemplars of service–learning. After providing an overview of service–learning, examples of how service–learning is misrepresented in the literature are discussed. Exemplars of service–learning are also cited. Calling attention to how service–learning is reported in the literature will increase awareness about the need to critically evaluate articles for evidence of reflection.