The importance of reflection in nursing cannot be understated | by Lizzie Ette for the BMJ Evidence-Based Nursing blog
The importance of reflection in nursing cannot be understated. It can be used on many levels; to reflect on a specific incident, a moment in time even, and the actions, thoughts and feelings associated with that moment, or can be used to help create an understanding of a more general time period, by breaking down, considering, analysing and critiquing the who, what, why, when and how of the events of that time ( Gibbs (1988),; Johns (1995) ; Driscoll (2007) ). It can be used to reflect on situations as they occur – reflection in action – and on events from the past – reflection on action (Schön, 1983). Additionally, it can be used to recognise new skills and articulate planned new approaches. All of these mechanisms are thought to improve a nurse’s practice.
However, some are critical of reflective practice in its current form. Rolfe (2014), for example, argues that reflective practice has had a disappointing impact upon nurse education and practice, suggesting that it is the poor interpretation and implementation of reflective practice that has resulted in this lack of progress. Likewise, Nelson (2012) suggests that the present wide acceptance of ‘institutionally governed’ reflection is ironic given Schön and other’s original intentions for the use of reflection.
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