Discuss the contribution of reflective practice to clinical nursing.

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Programme: BNurs Hons

Cohort: September 2008

Study Skills: NURS 10231

Student ID Number:  7138497

Word Count: 1280

Discuss the contribution of reflective practice to clinical nursing.


The aim of this assignment is to discuss, meaning to give an account of and consider evidence for and against, the contribution of reflective practice in clinical nursing. This will be achieved by examining John’s model of reflection (1990) and Gibbs reflective cycle (1988), discussing how they are utilized in clinical practice and considering the differences and comparisons between both of the models. The main body of the assignment will include a definition of reflection and why it is important to nursing, what impacts it can have and how it aids clinical practice and personal development. As the focus of the assignment will be on models of reflection, both John’s and Gibbs models will be summarized, discussed how they are used in clinical practice and benefits of using them within practice will be evaluated. Some of the barriers of reflection will also be discussed. The assignment will be concluded with a summary of the main body and a discussion of the implications that reflective practice has for clinical nursing.  

Main Body

What is Reflection?

Reflection is characterised as learning through experience towards gaining new insights or changed perceptions of self and practice (Boud et al, 1985, Boyd and Fales 1983, Mezirow 1981)

Taylor (2000) also gave a similar definition which defined reflection as throwing back thoughts and memories, in cognitive acts such as thinking, contemplation, mediation and any other form of attentive consideration in order to make sense of them to make contextually apparent changes if they are required. Through both definitions it can be drawn that via a process of thinking and learning from experience, reflection may be beneficial to some practitioners.

Nursing has applied reflective practice ideas to many of their disciplinary areas, and for some time has used reflective practice processes to improve practice and practice development. This can be achieved by encouraging practitioners to use reflective practice efficiently. (Taylor 2000, 2000a, 2000b; Thorpe and Barsky 2001; Stickley and Freshwater 2002; Johns 2003)

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Why is reflection important to nursing?

A lot of nursing literature suggests that reflective practice plays a major role within clinical nursing. Reflective practice is becoming an essential element of the nursing education as professional nursing bodies worldwide are being impressed by literature on learning by reflection. The persistent and diverse use of reflection implies that it is popular within the healthcare sector. (Teekman 2000)

Ghaye and Lillyman (2000) stated that reflection can help the practitioner make sense of practice and move thinking forward. If a practitioner fails to do this and does not move their ...

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