We want to encourage nurses and midwives to reflect on their practice, so they can identify any improvements or changes to their practice as a result of what they have learnt.
Each of your five reflections can be about an instance of CPD, feedback or an event or experience from your work as a nurse or midwife – you can even write a reflection about a combination of these. It’s important to think about the Code when you write your reflections, and consider the role of the Code in your practice and professional development.
We have provided a form which sets out the different things you need to think about when writing your reflections. You must use this form to record your written reflective accounts. You may store this form either electronically or in paper form.
We have provided some examples of completed reflective accounts that you might find helpful in thinking about how to approach the requirement. These accounts don’t need to be lengthy or academic-style pieces of writing. You can simply note down what you learnt, how it improved your practice, and how it relates to the Code.
You should be careful not to record any information in your reflective accounts which may identify another person. Our section on non-identifiable information has more information about this. Please see page 14 in How to revalidate with the NMC.
As a large proportion of your reflective account is based on your own experience, it is normally appropriate to use the first person ('I'). However, most assignments containing reflective writing will also include academic writing. You are therefore likely to need to write both in the first person ("I felt…") and in the third person ("Smith (2009) proposes that …"). Identify which parts of your experience you are being asked to reflect on and use this as a guide to when to use the first person. Always check your guidelines if you are not sure. If guidelines are not available then, in your introduction, explain when and why you are going to use "I" in your writing.
You will produce a balance by weaving together sections of 'I thought… 'I felt,…' and the relevant academic theories in the same section or paragraph. This is more effective than having a section which deals with the theory and a separate section dealing with your experiences.
Try to avoid emotive or subjective terms. Even though you are drawing on your experiences (and they may well have been emotional), you are trying to communicate these to your reader in an academic style. This means using descriptions that everyone would understand in the same way. So rather than writing, "The client was very unhappy at the start of the session", it might be better to write, "The client was visibly distressed", or "The client reported that he was very unhappy". This shows that you are aware that the client's understanding of 'unhappiness' may be quite different from yours or your reader's.
When writing about your reflections use the past tense as you are referring to a particular moment (I felt…). When referring to theory use the present tense as the ideas are still current (Smith proposes that...).
Some examples of how this works in practice:
One objective of the session was to help the client to understand the connection between her thoughts, feelings and behaviours. This is an important aim of HSD (Bloggs, 2009). To achieve this objective the following HSD method was used ….. (Smith, 2006). At times during the session I was too directive and could have used more open questions to allow the client more opportunity to verbalise her understanding.
During the session the client stated… I wish I had explored this further.