The Power of Reflective Practice

Nurses General Nursing


Hi everyone,

Now I realise that a majority of you are across the pond from me, and that here in the UK we have a slightly different slant on nursing and healthcare. However, I wanted to know what you all felt about Reflective practice. Over the last 10 years there has been slow but steady support building for the implementation of reflective practice through Clinical Supervision.

I am personally a great follower of this method of personal and professional development, and it is shown to be very successful in nurse education, but the uptake in clinical practice has been poor for various reasons.

Do YOU use reflective practice in your workplace? If so, HOW?

If not WHY?

I would be very interested to hear any opinions that you have about this issue.

Thanks in anticipation

Andrew sargent



6,620 Posts

Define reflective practice? It sounds like what we called praxis to me, but I am not sure so I can't comment...

micro, RN

1,173 Posts

not sure if thinkin about what you're thinkin about.........

when I think of reflective practice.....I think of communication style with my patients and possibly with teammembers in all disciplines...................

I like use of how i am thinkin of this as it does help the other person express how they think about the situation and it also helps you to understand what that person is saying without your own bias gettin in the way


7 Posts

When I am talking about reflective practice (it may have a different 'label' where you are) I am talking about developing one's knowledge and practice by the systematic analysis of specific incidents or on individual practice at given times.

It is facilitated by a peer who will help you to analyse your behaviour during the event and to gain an understanding about why you behaved in such a way.

The result is you being able to identify your potential areas of development. The facilitator or supervisor is there to guide your reflection not to tell you what you should have done.

It is, in a nutshell, the process of reviewing your practice with the aim of improving your response to that situation in the future.




2,259 Posts

Specializes in LDRP; Education.

There actually have been studies somewhat r/t this; using clinical logs vs careplan writing to reflect on a clinical experience and learn from it from feedback from peers. Educators can also use this as a method to see where the student is lacking or identify possible misconceptions before they become habit.

This follows along the lines of some educational theories on higher-order thinking: connectioning new information to retain it better.


6,620 Posts

OK, that is what we call praxis. I think it is IMPERITIVE thta nurses do this to develop their knowledge. If we don't reflect on what we did, why we did it and what else we could have done we are doomed to repeating the same mistakes over and over. It's like the fly that keeps buzzing into the window. I think this is especially important in nursing because it examines our biases and how that affects our care, and nurses like everyone else, have a lot of biases.

I think it is thoughtful reflection that makes experience meaningful. I already posted this on another thread, but an instructor friend told me 10 years of experience isn't worth anything if it is just the same year ten times over. It's meaningful reflection on the event and the theories behind it that makes experience something enriching.

live4today, RN

5,099 Posts

Specializes in Community Health Nurse.

IMHO, Reflective Practice is what my elders warned me of when I was younger, and now that I am older, reflecting back to everything I ever did, wondering why I did it the way I did it, I cry to think that I all I had to do was trust in those who had already walked in my shoes. Today at 50, I wonder why as a younger person I couldn't have learned the lesson of reflection when it would have spared me so much grief in all my past years? This is the same in nursing, or any other career field one may be in, only we may not all know that what we are learning is "Reflective Practice". It's called "hindsight"....not putting the cart before the horse, so to speak. Reflective Practice is learned through "trial and error". In college, we can talk about what it means, we can apply its meaning as we learn how to be nurses, but until we actually truly experience it on the job as RNs, it won't sting as much. ;)

If every parent would begin to teach "reflective practice" to their children from the time they are just "knee babies", by the time they are college age and ready to hit the world with a chosen career, they will be all the wiser...sparing themselves a lot of grief and unnecessary "trial and errors". ;)

"I learned that the best classroom in the world is at the feet of an elderly person." -- Andy Rooney

micro, RN

1,173 Posts

just let micro say DUH!!!!!!!!!


118 Posts

Sarg.just finished post grad diploma had whole subject called"Advanced Nursing Practice :Reflection and Action" was a great help like Renee wished i had learned it earlier am nearly 50 as well and have been nursing nearly 32 yrs.

I have a friend in winnipeg who uses it a lot shes an educator.

We had to keep diary thing and as students had to write up critical incidents that is incidents that we were confronted by or didn't like experiencing them,we then had to reflect on them ,that led to the action part which was to decide how we would do things differently to change and improve the situation for all especially the care delivery system.

live4today, RN

5,099 Posts

Specializes in Community Health Nurse.

Many family and marriage counselors utilize the "Reflective Practice" Theory when counseling husbands and wives, or the entire family, or parent to child. It was also used in one of my marriages at one point. It's a really good theory to practice in any situation. :)

Mary Dover

204 Posts

Specializes in Psych, hospice, family practice.


In my particular area of nursing practice, I believe what you are referring to as 'reflective', would compare with 'supervision' here. I am not referring to typical supervision of one's work, i.e. by a supervisor, but rather a specific period of time set aside for one to meet regularly with the person providing the 'supervision'. I have really only been aware of it in psychiatric/mental health care, and typically not so much formally for nurses here (unfortunely) as much as for social workers. The individuals I am aware of that have actually been required by their governing body to undergo this 'supervision' , are generally people who are in management or staff positions that require a certain educational degree or level of experience that have not in fact yet met these requirements, however are working TOWARD them.

Personally, I consider some of the feedback I get from collegues, in particular the psychiatrists that I work with, to be an invaluable(albeit informal) form of reflective practice or 'supervision'. I know that without it, it would be quite easy to lose my objectivity while working with seriously disturbed individuals (including non-nurse coworkers - lol).

Just my input.


micro, RN

1,173 Posts

and micro yet again says DUH!!!!!!!!! way above my head...........this is just what I call..............................................................................................................good common sense................

you know.....not expectin a new grad to know quite what you know, but not disrespecting them maybe they have something to offer also...........................

of course if I am wrong, then micro goes DUH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This topic is now closed to further replies.

By using the site, you agree with our Policies. X