Reflective practice

Reflective practice

Healthcare professionals must be able to reflect on their practice. It is imperative to reflect on your experiences and thoughts in order to identify potential areas of improvement for your practice. A strong skill set should also be identified in the areas of your practice where you possess strong expertise. In order to evaluate your communication skills, you should engage in reflective practice. As a result of reflecting on your experiences, you may also be able to express your ideas, thoughts, and feelings about these experiences more concisely and effectively to colleagues and residents/patients.

Healthcare professionals have access to a wide range of models of reflection. In my opinion, Gibbs’ reflective cycle is a helpful one to follow. Using this model of reflection, you will be guided through a process of reflecting on your own experiences and practices. If you want to write your reflection, you can do it informally, when thinking about your day, or more formally, when structuring a written reflection.

A reflective cycle for Gibbs consists of the following steps:

  1. Description– Give an account/description of what happened

  2. Feelings– If you think back to what you were thinking and feeling at the time, you may find some answers

  3. Evaluation– The experience was both right and wrong, so consider what happened right and wrong

  4. Analysis – In what way does this situation make sense to you? In order to understand why certain things turn out well or poorly, it can be helpful to ask why.

  5. Conclusion– You may have been able to do something else if you had thought about it

  6. Action plan – What would you do differently if the same or a similar situation arose again? Would you be able to achieve this if you took any action now?


A summary of these stages can be found in the image below.

Getting started with Reflective Practice

Now think about an experience you had in healthcare that either turned out well or did not turn out well. Consider Gibbs’ reflective model when exploring this experience. A key component of reflective practice is putting your reflection into action – what should you do right now to ensure that things keep working as they should or that things return to normal as soon as possible?

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