Reflective accounts

Reflective practice

A CPD article improved Lynda Kenny’s understanding of the importance of reflective practice in nursing.
reflective nurse

A CPD article improved Lynda Kennys understanding of the importance of reflective practice in nursing.

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

The article focused on reflection, which is an essential tool for nurses that can be used in their personal and professional development, while reinforcing continuous learning.

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

Reflection is a tool that can support nurses to assess, plan, implement and evaluate patient care, to ensure optimum practice. The article stated that reflection should be purposeful, focused and questioning. It emphasised that reflection may have a positive outcome, and can identify areas that require improvement.

Formal reflection is now included as a requirement for Nursing and Midwifery Council revalidation, which states

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A CPD article improved Lynda Kenny’s understanding of the importance of reflective practice 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?

The article focused on reflection, which is an essential tool for nurses that can be used in their personal and professional development, while reinforcing continuous learning.

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

Reflection is a tool that can support nurses to assess, plan, implement and evaluate patient care, to ensure optimum practice. The article stated that reflection should be purposeful, focused and questioning. It emphasised that reflection may have a positive outcome, and can identify areas that require improvement.

Formal reflection is now included as a requirement for Nursing and Midwifery Council revalidation, which states that nurses must provide a minimum of five written reflective accounts in the three-year period since the renewal of their registration.

I have learned that rather than being regarded as a tick-box exercise, reflection should be an opportunity for nurses to consider any clinical episodes that went well, as well as to examine those that were challenging.

How did you change or improve your practice?

As a staff nurse on an intensive care unit (ICU), I have been concerned about disparities in the quality of end of life care. I felt that while some patients experience a ‘good death’, on other occasions more could have been done to improve the patient’s experience. Previously, I had reflected on clinical events such as the withdrawal of life support after they occurred, but since reading the article, I have been reflecting during such events. This has enabled me to modify my actions while I am undertaking them.

Following several periods of reflection, I have spoken to the consultant on the unit about the end of life care provided. The consultant agreed that working to a defined clinical benchmark would benefit patients, and would ensure nursing and medical staff had clear guidelines to follow. This would relieve any anxiety nurses on the ICU felt about providing best practice and increase the confidence of less experienced staff in providing end of life care.

Subsequently, I have developed an end of life care pathway specifically for the ICU, using notes I had made when reflecting on my practice. The article had suggested this might be useful. I have also drawn on conversations with other nurses about their experiences and we often reflected together, which I found therapeutic.

When reflecting on clinical experiences, I now use the prompts suggested in the article, which include: ‘what happened?’, ‘how did I feel?’, and ‘what do I need to explore further?’

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

As part of the theme of practising effectively, The Code states that nurses should act on any feedback they receive to enhance their practice. The article emphasised the importance of nurses regularly reflecting on the care they provide and identifying areas for improvement.

The Code also states nurses and midwives must ensure their knowledge and skills are up to date to fulfil their registration requirements. This may be achieved by participating in continuing professional development activities to maintain their competencies and improve practice, such as reading the article and completing its time out activities.

Lynda Kenny is a staff nurse in Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust


This reflective account is based on NS824 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 the CPD article you have just read, writing about 800 words in total. How to submit your reflective account

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