Skip to main content
What is reflective practice?
"Reflective practice occurs when you explore an experience you have had to identify what happened, and what your role in the experience was – including your behaviour and thinking, and related emotions. This, allows you to look at changes to your approach for similar future events. If reflective practice is performed comprehensively and honestly, it will inevitably lead to improved performances" (La Trobe University, 2015).
"Reviewing experience from practice so that it may be described, analysed, evaluated and consequently used to inform and change future practice. Importantly, reflection also involves opening up one's practice for others to examine, and consequently requires courage and open-mindedness as well as a willingness to take on board and act on criticism" (Bulman, 2008, p. 2).
Gibbs' model of reflection
Gibbs' reflective cycle involves 6 steps:
Gibbs, G. (1988). Learning by doing: A guide to teaching and learning methods. Oxford: Further Education Unit, Oxford Brookes University.
- Describe in detail the event you are reflecting on.
- What happened; where were you; who else was there; why were you there; what were you doing; what were other people doing; what was your part in the event; what parts did other people play in the event; what was the result?
- What were you thinking and feeling?
- Try to recall and explore the things that were going on inside your head.
- How were you feeling when the event started; what were you thinking about at the time; how did the event make you feel; how did other people make you feel; how did you feel about the outcome of the event; what do you feel/think about the event now?
- What was good and bad about the experience?
- Evaluate and make a judgment about what has happened.
- What was good about the experience/event; what was bad about the experience/event; what didn't go so well; what did you and other people do to contribute to the situation (positively or negatively)?
- What sense can you make of the situation?
- Break the event down into its components.
- Explore the various components.
- Look back and ask more questions about previous answers like: What went well; what did you do well; what did others do well; what went wrong; what didn't turn out the way it was supposed to; who and what contributed to how things turned out?
- What else could you have done?
- Having worked through the different stages you now have more information to base your judgment on.
- What insights have you gained by working through the cycle; what have you learnt from the experience; what could you have done differently; what skills do you need to develop, so that you can handle this type of situation better; how could this have been a more positive experience for everyone involved?
- If it arose again, what would you do?
- What would you do; would you do things differently; would you do things the same way; what actions do you need to take?
Atkins & Murphy's model of reflective practice
Atkins, S., & Murphy, K. (1994). Reflective practice. Nursing Standard, 8(39), 49-56.
Reflective Practice in Nursing
From reviews of previous editions: 'This excellent book provides useful guidance on the use of reflection in practice.... a helpful addition to any nursing library.' Primary Health Care '?an excellent investment in any nurses? library portfolio.' Journal of Advanced Nursing 'An extremely welcome addition to nursing's literature on thoughtful, knowledgeable practice.' Nursing Times 'This is an excellent practical guide to reflective practice?I would highly recommend this book to all practice teachers and students.' Journal of Practice Nursing The ability to reflect on practice has become a competency demanded of every healthcare professional in recent years. It can be a daunting prospect- but this practical and accessible text guides the way, using the latest research and evidence to support the development of skills in reflective practice and provides help and advice on how to get started, how to write reflectively and how to continue to use reflective practice in everyday situations. This fifth edition of Reflective Practice in Nursing is an indispensable guide for students and practitioners alike who wish to learn more about reflective practice, as well as containing essential information for teachers and lecturers.
Publication Date: 2013-04-01
Reflective Practice for Healthcare Professionals
This popular book provides practical guidance for healthcare professionals wishing to reflect on their work and improve the way they undertake clinical procedures, interact with other people at work and deal with power issues.
Publication Date: 2010-01-05
Reflective Practice in Mental Health
Reflective Practice in Mental Health is the authoritative, definitive guide to psycho-social theory and practice in mental health.Featuring contributions from eminent experts, the book uses case studies to illustrate and address the complexities and dilemmas faced by practitioners involved in mental health care, and enables the reader to reflect on their understanding. Case studies from a variety of theoretical perspectives are included, covering psychodynamic theory, cognitive behavioural therapy, systemic family therapy, attachment therapy and therapeutic group-work. They also cover practice across a range of settings, including inpatient, community and children and family services. This book will be a crucial and invaluable text for social work practitioners and social work students aiming to ensure the very best practice in mental health social work, and aims to be the seminal text for mental health psychosocial practice.
Publication Date: 2010-08-15
Portfolios and Reflective Practice
Reflective practice is a requirement for all healthcare professionals. This essential guide will help you develop the skills to be effective as a reflective practitioner within any clinical environment. The Nursing & Health Survival Guides have evolved - take a look at our our app for iPhone and iPad.
Publication Date: 2012-05-03
Becoming a Reflective Practitioner
From Reviews of the second edition: 'Christopher Johns is an internationally recognised pioneer of reflective practice in nursing and health care. The first edition of this book was an excellent resource and this updated version is equally impressive. This is a superb resource for nurses and all those eager to enhance their knowledge and skills in reflective practice. It is well presented, user-friendly and stimulating.' Nursing Standard Becoming a Reflective Practitioner is a practical guide to using reflection in every day clinical practice. It explores the value of using models of reflection, with particular reference to Christopher Johns' own model for structured reflection. Becoming a Reflective Practitioner includes accounts of everyday practice to guide the reader through the stages of reflective practice within the context of care, 'desirable practice', and the caring relationship. This third edition reflects significant developments in reflective theory and gives greater attention to different approaches to reflection including the use of narrative dialogue. New chapters are included on ensuring quality and managing conflict. Exemplars are included throughout and further references and reflected reading are included at the end of each chapter. Reflective practice is acknowledged as an effective approach to developing nursing care which evolves as the practitioner develops his or her own practice. This book will therefore be of interest to all nurses involved in developing their clinical practice. A practical guide to developing reflective practice Reflects significant developments in reflective theory Examines Christopher Johns' own model for structured reflection Centred on care and the caring relationship Challenges practitioners to question their practice
Publication Date: 2013-04-03
Critial reflection in practice
Critical reflection is an essential skill for all health practitioners, and the new edition of this market leading title (previously called 'Critical Reflection for Nursing') provides the knowledge that underpins its development. This thoroughly revised text has been expanded to address international dimensions and interprofessionalism.
Publication Date: 2010
Becoming a Reflective Practitioner
Following the success of Reflective Practice in Nursing and Transforming Nursing Through Reflective Practice, Chris Johns has written a new text and uses a variety of examples to show how nurses have used reflective practice to develop their work.
Publication Date: 2000-04-17
Johns' model of reflection
Johns' model of reflection uses 5 cues to help the practitioner reflect on an event/experience, to make sense of it and to learn through it:
There are various questions that can be asked for each section.
- Describe the experience.
- What are the key issues that I need to pay attention to?
- What were the significant factors?
- What was I trying to achieve?
- What were the consequences of my actions?
- For the patient and family
- For myself
- For the people I work with
- How did I feel about this experience when it was happening?
- How did the patient feel when it was happening?
- What internal/external factors influenced my decision-making and my actions?
- What knowledge influenced my decision-making and my actions?
Could I have dealt with it better
- What sources of knowledge should have influenced my decision-making and my actions?
- How could I have dealt better with the situation?
- What other choices did I have?
- What would have been the consequences of these alternate choices?
- What will change because of this experience?
- How can I make sense of this experience in light of past experience and future practice?
- How has this experience changed my ways of knowing (scientific knowledge, moral knowledge, self awareness, my own experience and what I do)?
- How do I now feel about this experience?
- Have I taken effective action to support myself and other as a result of this experience?
Johns, C. (1994). Nuances of reflection. Journal Of Clinical Nursing, 3(2), 71-74 4p. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2702.1994.tb00364.x
Rolfe's model of reflective practice
Rolfe's framework of reflective practice is based on Borton's (1970) model. It consists of three key questions:
What ...? - Descriptive level of reflection
- ... is the problem/difficulty/reason for an event?
- ... is the reason for feeling bad?
- ... is the reason why something happened?
- ... was my role in the situation?
- … was I trying to achieve?
- … actions did I take?
- … was the response of others?
- … were the consequences for the patient, for myself, for others?
- … feelings did it evoke in the patient, in myself, in others?
- … was good/bad about the experience?
So what ...? - Theory and knowledge building level of reflection
- … does this tell me?
- ... does this teach?
- ... does this imply/mean about me, my patient, others?
- ... does this imply/mean about my patient's care?
- ... does this imply/mean about the model of care I'm using?
- ... does this imply/mean my attitudes, my patient’s attitudes, other people's attitudes?
- … was going through my mind as I acted?
- … did I base my actions on?
- … other knowledge can I bring to the situation (experimental, personal, scientific)
- … could/should I have done to make it better?
- … is my new understanding of the situation?
- … broader issues arise from the situation?
Now what ...? - Action-orientated (reflective) level of reflection
- … do I need to do in order to make things better
- ... do I need to do in order to stop being stuck
- ... do I need to do in order to improve my patient’s care
- ... do I need to do in order to resolve the situation
- ... do I need to do in order to improve my skills/knowledge?
- … broader issues need to be considered if this action is to be successful?
- … might be the consequences of this action?
Charles Darwin University acknowledges the traditional custodians across the lands on which we live and work, and we pay our respects to Elders both past and present.