Reflective Practice

Psalm 26:2-3“Reflection is active, purposeful thought applied to an experience to understand the meaning of that experience for the individual. The aim of this purposeful thought is to gain understanding, which then leads to changes in what we do, and new perspectives. Reflective practice requires critical appraisal of experiences, and the understanding we gain through it adds to our knowledge” 1.

As beginning nurses, you will encounter new experiences that challenge your thinking and require purposeful processing for an understanding of practice situations. Ask God to guide this reflection, to open your mind to his truth so that you may gain wisdom to be his instrument in nursing practice. The nurse in the article, "Saying Goodbye" demonstrated reflective practice by reviewing what she did well and what she could have done differently. Likely, the nurse was providing care to several clients, yet she was aware of the needs of her dying client and the daughter. She provided pain control, physical hygiene, safety, and emotional support. She assisted the daughter in expressing care through the action of clipping her mother’s nails.

The nurse reflectively thought she could have been more intentional in providing spiritual care. She realized she needed to look for evidence of the client’s faith traditions. She could have asked the daughter about her mother’s faith and what would be helpful, as well as reviewing the chart. The nurse could have prayed silently for her patient. Yet, the nurse’s caring certainly would represent the hands of Jesus to this dying woman.

1Ashby, C. (2006). Models for reflective practice. Practice Nurse, 32, 10.

--reprinted from the Journal of Christian Nursing, April-June 2008


Reflective practice was very much a part of my life when I was actively working with students. One of my greatest challenges was learning how to use questions to help a student think critically without seeming threatening.How many times I left the clinical area reflecting on an interaction with a student that morning. Years have past since I last did this but the memories are vivid. I would be interested in reading how nurse educators are using reflective practice currently. .

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