Putting reflection into action

Having time to think is perhaps one of the biggest daily challenges for anyone involved in healthcare. Yet the importance of being a ‘reflective practitioner’ has never been greater in ensuring the quality and safety of the services we provide. As the pace of service delivery increases and the care we provide becomes more complex. Sometimes that difference may not be just for the patient or their carer, family or friend, it may be for you and your professionalism – and possibly your career.

All nurses and midwives need to meet a range of requirements designed to show that they are keeping up to date and actively maintaining their ability to practice safely and effectively.

NHS Professionals are committed to help their Bank members to meet their Revalidation requirements and one of the elements of the revalidation process is to keep a record of five written pieces of reflective accounts. There are a number of easily accessible academic models to help you understand how you can prepare material for deeper reflection to meet the revalidation process. However, the following 3 models can help you get started.

Gibb’s reflective cycle
The descriptive Gibb’s reflective cycle can help you to see reflection as a ‘Cycle’, so the action you take in the final stage will feed back into the first stage, beginning the process again.

Gibb’s reflective cycle is a process involving six steps:

1) Description – What happened?

2) Feelings – What did you think and feel about it?

3) Evaluation – What were the positives and negatives?

4) Analysis – What sense can you make of it?

5) Conclusion – What else could you have done?

6) Action Plan – What will you do next time?

John’s model
Another model that you can use is the John’s model (1994), which recommends using a diary to help structure reflection. This helps practitioners to ‘look in on the situation’ – including focusing on yourself and paying attention to your thoughts and emotions. The model then advises to ‘look out of the situation’ and write a description of the situation around those thoughts and feelings – about what you are trying to achieve, why you responded in the way you did, how others were feeling and so on. This allows you to ask honestly – did I act in the best way? What will I learn from this experience?

‘After Action Review’ model
There are other ‘team based’ models for reflection – such as the ‘After Action Review’ model – developed initially by the US military (in dealing with hurricanes) but now used by many international aid and humanitarian organisations. It asks three simple questions to stimulate reflection and prompt solution:

• What was supposed to happen?
• What did happen?
• What was learnt?

All these models and tools can help toward putting together your written reflective accounts. NHS Professionals knows that our Bank members are good time managers, juggling work and other commitments, as they book assignments and shifts and therefore, we are here to support you in being the best you can be.

About the author

NHS Professionals administrator

NHS Professionals manages the temporary staffing needs of around 66 NHS Trusts across England. An integral part of the NHS, it aims to reduce Trusts’ spending on flexible workers without compromising quality, by providing greater transparency of demand and supplying bank staff at the best possible rate. Its bank of more than 40,000 flexible workers comprises general and specialist nurses, doctors, midwives, admin/clerical , allied health professionals, healthcare scientists, support services among other healthcare professionals.

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