Reflective accounts

Reflective practice

A CPD article improved Clare Rogers’ understanding of the importance of reflection in nursing.

A CPD article improved Clare Rogers’ understanding of the importance of reflection in nursing


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What was the nature of the CPD activity, practice-related feedback and/or event and/or experience in your practice?

Reflection is an essential component of nursing that can enhance learning, support professional development and improve practice. The article defined reflective practice, outlined the various reflective models that nurses can use, and discussed the importance of self-awareness and critical thinking in reflection.

What did you learn from the CPD activity, feedback and/or event and/or experience in your practice?

Reflection involves questioning and making sense of practice, with the aim of evaluating and improving care. 

I learned that reflection has three components: reflection before action, reflection in action and reflection on action. The article suggested that although many nurses will be familiar with reflecting on action, they will also reflect before and in action without being aware of this. 

The article emphasised that critical thinking is an important component of reflective practice. It can provide the knowledge and understanding necessary to analyse a situation, make informed decisions and improve future practice. 

I learned that self-awareness is essential to ensure reflection is effective. The article suggested that practitioners who are self-aware are equipped to manage their emotions in a controlled manner, rather than feeling overwhelmed by them. In addition, being honest when examining issues will ensure that the reflection is meaningful.

How did you change or improve your practice?

Reading the article refreshed my knowledge of the various models that nurses can use for reflection, and reminded me that they should choose the model that is appropriate for them. 

In my practice, I have found Gibbs’ reflective cycle to be helpful, since it has encouraged me to consider my personal thoughts and feelings about a situation, and enabled me to develop my self-awareness. 

The article provided practical examples of how reflection can be used to improve care, which helped me to link reflection to practice and will assist me in preparing for revalidation. 

I will consider using the various ways of documenting reflection discussed in the article, such as using a reflective diary, a Dictaphone or a tablet computer to record events.

How is this relevant to the Code? Select one or more themes: Prioritise people, Practise effectively, Preserve safety, Promote professionalism and trust

Reflection can assist nurses to keep their skills and knowledge up to date, in accordance with the theme of practising effectively. This theme also states that nurses must reflect and act on any feedback they receive to improve their practice.

The Code states that nurses must exercise their professional duty of candour, which involves being open and honest when poor care occurs. Reflection and self-awareness are crucial to this process to enhance understanding of these situations.

Clare Rogers is a staff nurse at North Bristol NHS Trust, Bristol


This reflective account is based on NS842 Nicol JS, Dosser I (2016) Understanding reflective practice. Nursing Standard. 30, 36, 34-40

Write your own reflective account

You can gain a certificate of learning by reading a Nursing Standard CPD article and writing a reflective account. To write a reflective account for Nursing Standard, use the NMC reflective accounts form. Complete the four questions about a CPD article you have read, writing about 700 words in total.

The authors of reflective accounts that are published in Nursing Standard receive a £50 book token. Details of how to submit your reflective account for publication are available here.

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