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Reflective Practice

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Submitted By leanne2755
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Reflective practice is an approach widely adopted by professionals in evaluating their practice, particularly in nursing and health care (Kenworthy et al 2002). Reflection is a necessary process in order to comply with Post-registration education and practice (PREP), continuing professional development standard, as required by the NMC (2006). Reflection can therefore be regarded as a fundamental process for all professionals registered within the NMC. This essay specifically focuses upon reflection in relation to the student Specialist community public health nurse (SCPHN). Reflective practice in nursing can be guided by models of reflection. Using a model or framework can be beneficial in aiding practioners and students of nursing and health care to, reflect upon incidents, and critically analyse those incidents, therefore helping the practioner to learn and move on (Ashby 2006). This essay aims to explore the concept of reflection. It will discuss and critically analyse Gibbs (1998) theoretical model of reflection whilst also considering other models and their use in relation to the role of a student SCPHN working within a children and family community setting.
Reflective practice is not a new concept. It originated in the 1930's from work carried out by American educationalist John Dewey. Dewey (1933) developed the idea of reflection as a way of learning in education. This idea has since been drawn upon in the works of many others; Schon (1983) similarly highlights the idea of reflection as a way of bridging the gap between theory to underpin professional practice. Other definitions include: “Reflection is a process of reviewing an experience of practice in order to describe, analyse, evaluate and so inform learning about practice” (Reid, 1993 p.305). Although there are many definitions of reflection worded in many fashions, it is evident from them all that a broad agreement exists in that reflection informs learning. Burnard (2006) argues that having a framework for reflection also supports practioners to maintain the actual practice of reflecting.

There are many models of reflection. Some models use a cyclical approach and some use questions. Gibbs (1998) model of reflection is one of many models used to aid the process of reflection. Gibbs Model of reflection is shown in a cyclical manner. It identifies a series of 6 steps to aid reflective practice, these elements make up a cycle that can be applied over and over. Gibbs reflective cycle is reasonably simple. It encourages a detailed description of the event, which leads to an analysis of feelings about the event. It encourages an evaluation of the experience, urging practioners to recognise and consider the good and bad points of the experience. This is followed by an analysis to make sense of the situation. A conclusion can then be made and other options can be considered and the experience can be reflected upon to examine what you would do if the situation arose again. This model is very basic and makes an excellent starting point for students (Siviter 2004). This model essentially encourages practioners to examine their own learning (Boud et al 1985:91). Gibbs model can be viewed as a visually attractive picture, quite clear and concise in its process which in turn is appealing to most practioners with a busy workload. Unlike Gibbs model, Johns Model of Structured Reflection (2004) is quite structured and asks a list of questions. Johns model supports the need for the learner to work with a supervisor throughout the experience. He recommends that the student uses a structured diary. He advises to ‘look in on the situation’, which would include focusing on yourself and paying attention to your thoughts and emotions. He then advises to ‘look out of the situation’ and write a description of the situation around your thoughts and feelings. Johns model is more detailed in comparison to Gibbs model, and encourages progression of thought. This may benefit the more experienced practioner (Kenworthy et al 2002). The use of a reflective diary is a good idea in theory and may evoke a deeper learning of the situation, but in reality it is very time consuming. It therefore may not be the best model to use for a SCPHN with a pressing work schedule.

The literature suggests that using a model for reflection helps you to look in detail at different aspects of an experience and to recognise the wider influences that contributed to it (Ashby 2006).. In essence they are all based around the one idea of looking at something, thinking about why it is as it is and then deciding what to do next time, contributing to lifelong learning and continued professional development (NMC 2006).

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