You will hear it every day, you will be told how important it is, and you will have so many different models thrown at you that you wont know what to do with them. Yes, I’m talking about reflection.
Reflection is important, I’m not denying that. In fact, the NMC (2010) competencies for entry to the register state both that nurses ‘must evaluate their care to improve’ and that nurses ‘must be self-aware’ and ‘maintain their own personal and professional development, learning through reflection’.
To me it seems like a strangely clinical way to examine my thoughts and feelings
So yes, it is important.
However, I disagree with how formalised reflection in nurse education has become. It seems like everyday I have to write a new reflective journal entry, or incorporate reflection into an essay. I have to consider whether to use Gibb’s or John’s. To me it seems like a strangely clinical way to examine my thoughts and feelings. While I do learn from my mistakes, and from the things I actually did really well, I find it quite a chore to assign a time and space and try to write about it. (Ironic for a blogger, I know.)
And then I realised. I reflect all the time.
On the train home from placement I can’t help but think about what I’ve done that day. When I phone my mum after a particularly horrible day (she’s an old-school nurse who is completely unshockable, very reassuring after a bad day), or even when something funny happens to me and my friends have a good laugh at my expense.
These innocuous interactions are perfect examples of reflection in real life. And it is this form of reflection that I find helps me the most. I’m not focussing on my spelling and grammar, on the word count, or even on if I’m making sense. I can take my time and work through my thoughts at my own pace. I can back track and talk gibberish and actually interact with other people and get their opinions.
So yes, I do understand the importance of reflection. And I really do appreciate the value of it. But I think that following a particular model isn’t the right thing for me. And it may not be the right thing for you! I think we should be allowed to find what works best for us. In the mean time, I’m going to suck it up and go and reflect on my communication skills.
Also good luck to all you September intake student nurses heading back this week! And especially to the freshers – it’s scary and exciting and you will probably love it.
Also follow me on twitter @Sarah_ABN