Top 10 Practice Reflection Tips
Reflection on practise is a fundamental part of nursing. It is vital for nurse and midwife professional development to keep our knowledge and skills up to date. Reflection in the UK is also a mandatory part of Nurse Revalidation, the process for nurses and Midwifes registered in the UK to maintain registration. Practice reflection is one way to ensure we are delivering safe and effective practise for the public.
In the reflective process, we are taking time to think about our practise, evaluating what works and what we may do differently in the future to ensure that we are always delivering the best care that we can. There are many anxieties around reflection. Many nurses feel unsure how to actually reflect and of course finding the time to reflect in our very busy jobs can pose obstacles to this fundamental part of practise.
Here are our top 10 practice reflection tips from nurses of all specialisms to help support you in your reflective practise.
- Reflect when it is fresh. You really must reflect upon things as soon as possible after they happen. You will remember things whilst they are still fresh in your mind to make the process meaningful. We recommend to reflect within 24 hours or as soon after the event as possible. Do not leave it more than 1 week as it can be difficult to remember accurately what happened. To reflect on something that happened a long time ago will likely result in not remembering or even making things up to fill in blanks. This will make the task meaningless, which defeats the whole point of what you are trying to do. Making things up is technically fraud. Don’t be that nurse.
- Reflection is an ongoing process. Reflection and learning is an ongoing process. Things happen all the time in practise and we need to reflect as and when they occur. You only need to complete 5 written reflections over 3 years for revalidation requirements, who’s kidding that is not enough. If you reflected every time it was appropriate you would have a whole lot more. So, reflect whenever you can and we encourage you to do more than 5 every 3 years.
- Type out Reflections. Many nurses will find typing their reflections much faster than handwriting and this will also make them more legible. If you struggle with a computer, typing out your reflections is actually a good way to improve typing skills, and something you could put in your professional development as a goal that you are working towards to keep up to date with technology.
- Keep them Safe. We strongly recommend that you keep your reflections in an electronic portfolio to ensure that they are safe and secure. Believe us, you do not want to lose all your hard work.
- Write enough so that you and anyone else reading it can understand exactly what happened and what you learnt from it. Be descriptive, tell a little story and pull out your learning. Try not to waffle and keep on topic. If you just bullet point without explaining what happened it can be hard for someone to understand what exactly happened and what you learnt so be clear.
- What do I reflect on? Reflect on any feedback you get, Continuing Professional Development activities that you do or any particular events or instances in practise. You will know when to reflect on something. The moments when you think ‘I should probably do a reflection on that’, are the moments that you reflect on.
- Reflective models. You have to follow the NMC template when writing your reflections. If you still feel unsure what to write then try taking a look at a reflective model to help you structure your evaluation of what happened. Remember you must follow the format provided by the NMC when writing your reflective accounts, so if you use a model it needs to be supporting information to this format. Popular reflective models include: Gibbs’s, John’s, Driscoll’s. No one can tell you specifically what to write, as the learning and exploration needs to come from you.
- Share with others. If you feel comfortable, share your reflections with your peers. You can learn insights from each other, explore different points of view and share best practise.
- Dont struggle. If you are really struggling with your reflections, then raise it with your manager or team. It is in everyone’s interests to ensure that all nurses are reflecting confidently, regularly, and effectively for the good of patient care.
- The Code. You must relate your reflections to the relevant standards in The Code Once you have written your reflection, go through The standards within The Code and write out the ones that it relates to. This will get you thinking about how you should be practising and keep the heart of The Code to your practise
Reflection is important.
Remember the importance of reflection. It is all too easy to feel that there is no time to reflect, and a reflection is creating more work for you. Remember that making time to reflect will actually save you time in the long run as your care will be more efficient and you will ensure you are delivering safe and effective, quality care. It can also help massively with processing complex or difficult situations, which can alleviate stress. So no excuses. Share this best practice article with other nurses and midwifes so to support each other.