NURSING:: Critically examine an incident from recent practice whilst using a model of reflection.
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INTRODUCTION The purpose of this essay is to critically examine an incident from recent practice whilst using a model of reflection. This will enable me to analyse and make sense of the incident and draw conclusions concerning personal learning outcomes. The meaning of critical analysis and critical incidents will briefly be discussed followed by the process of reflection. The incident will then be described and analysed and then I will discuss issues raised in light of the recent literature relating to the incident. I will conclude with explaining what I have learned from the experience and how it will change my future actions. Critical analysis involves assessing the differences, beliefs, benefits and disadvantages of a situation. (Polit and Hungler 1999). Burns and Bulman (2000) express that it is an important skill in professional practice and academic work. Engaging in critical analysis is a positive and constructive process as it identifies any strengths and weaknesses. (Girot 2001) Burns & Bulman (2000) described critical incidents, as incidents that have had an emotional impact on individuals whereby the incident may be a positive or negative one. They are a means of examining significant incidents or situations in the practice area and they encourage individuals to look back and learn from the particular incident. (Girot 2001). Reflection is a process of profound thought relating to an experience or situation whereby the experience is explored through feelings and reasoning. (Cadman et al 2003). The Nursing and Midwifery Council (2003) highlight the importance of reflection in nursing practice and state that it is the process of enhancing personal and professional learning that assists in developing nursing knowledge. It can be viewed a useful tool in developing the skill of critical thinking and can be used to link theory and practice. (Kenworthy et al 2002). Health professionals can use reflection to manage and deal with moral, ethical conflict and other difficult issues. (Wilkinson 2001). Marks-Maran and Rose (1997) view reflection as an activity to develop personal, practical and intuitive knowledge.
Meals are becoming more frequent and generous in portion, which are encouraged by retailers with promotional ' meal deals ' and triple sandwich packs. (Pearson 2003). Low levels of physical activity are a contributory factor in the development of obesity. (Noel & Pugh 2002). In today's society, many jobs are sedentary due to the increasing use of technology and machinery. (Grundy 1998; Hunking 2002). The use of motor vehicles has increased vastly over the past decade and therefore decreased the levels of walking as a form of exercise. (Pearson 2003). In recent years there has been a significant increase in television viewing and use of computer games. (Ruxton 2004). Children tend to spend less time playing outdoors and participating in active outdoor activities. (Holm 2001). Socially deprived and those on a low income often have to buy cheap foodstuffs which tends to be the less healthier option. (SIGN 1996). Having a low income can prevent individuals from buying in bulk and prevent them from taking advantage of special offers. (Pearson 2003). Poor access to shopping facilities and a lack of transport often restrict individuals to purchasing from local shops that are often more expensive. (Kolotkin et al 2001:Grundy 1998). I appreciate now that I did not consider Daisy's income, or cooking and shopping facilities during my visit. I believe if these factors were considered then it may have enhanced Daisy's chance in losing weight in the long-term. Psychological factors and behaviour problems may lead to overeating and subsequent weight gain. Many individuals eat in response to negative emotions such as stress, boredom, and anger. (Ogden 2000). Therefore an association between an emotion and food can be firmly established. Daisy and I did not explore the reasons for her weight gain, which may have helped establish why she overate and implement strategies to overcome it. We live in an image-conscious world where social values indicate that individuals can only be considered attractive if they are slim.
Now that I am more aware of common obesity related complications, I am confident I can individualize and plan nursing interventions accordingly to prevent and address any problems. CONCLUSION Reflection is an active process where thoughts and feelings that have arisen from a significant experience are critically explored. The issues and learning outcomes are examined and processed in order to identify the effects on future practice. Reflection raises awareness and can change future action by applying new knowledge. I found the process of reflection a difficult one, it was not easy to observe my feelings and behaviour and then analyse them. It has taken courage to evaluate my feelings and practice but I have been rewarded with the knowledge and confidence to develop certain aspects of practice I felt uncertain in. The experience has been highly beneficial and has given me a valuable insight into the wider implications and issues of obesity. The prevalence of obesity is continually rising and effective strategies are required to help promote healthy eating and physical activity. Health professionals are under increasing pressure to provide the appropriate care and treatment for clients with obesity. It is imperative that obesity is regarded as a medical condition and patients should be provided with the support and treatment they require. All healthcare professionals should be aware of their own attitudes and beliefs regarding obesity to ensure that the care they provide is non-judgemental and the physiological needs of the patients are met. Prevention appears to be the only long-term solution to the problem of obesity. It is important that we all strive to establish a culture that reduces the consumption of high fat foods and also encourages physical activity. The whole experience of reflecting on my practice has enabled me to make sense of the event and put my thoughts and feelings into perspective. If the situation was to arise in the future I am confident that the knowledge and experience that I gained from the incident will in turn improve my nursing practice. 1
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