The use of reflection has helped me celebrate the small achievements and improve the quality of care I provide as a student nurse.
Reflection is vital in all aspects of healthcare, especially the nursing profession, as the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) require 35 hours of continuing professional development (CPD) every three years in order to revalidate.
This makes it more essential that student nurses become familiar with how to effectively reflect to ensure the NMC code is upheld.
Reflection creates a sense of mindfulness as it requires us to understand ourselves better, which can decrease chances of feeling overwhelmed, as it is understood how to personally deal with difficult situations.
“Personally, I reflect by keeping a diary dedicated to reflection”
Research found that when mindfulness was incorporated into nurses working environments, they felt less stressed leading to improved satisfaction and safety of patients care. This should be reinforced more in a healthcare as pressures in this setting are greater than everyday life and the importance of delivering compassionate care in fundamental.
Often it can be extremely overwhelming as a student nurse, with the feelings of having so much to learn and staff having little time to teach due to the high pressure in hospitals. By reflecting it will highlight personal strengths and weakness to help understand gaps in knowledge, as well as what has been learnt since the previous reflection.
Research has shown that reflection helps to close the gap between knowledge and practice as it turns each experience into experiential learning, also known as learning by doing.
Personally, I reflect by keeping a diary dedicated to reflection. When a key event happens, I write down what happened, what I did well, what I learned, what didn’t go well and what I will do differently next time. This allows me to praise myself for developing a new skill or for improving if I have carried out the task previously.
Reflection is not just about what has been learnt practically but also how an event has affected me emotionally, and how I dealt with this at the time.
Overall, I have found reflection to be extremely beneficial as it has shown me how much I have developed, which can often be forgotten when the focus is on all that I have left to learn. This has helped to relive some anxiety and creates a sense of relief, which I believe has positively affected my mental health.
Through my course it is required for us to reflect on any learning experiences and have feedback from the nurse supervising us.
However, I also do this at my own will as I have found it beneficial for my course when writing reflective pieces, as well as my mental health. There are many ways to reflect, and I would encourage any student nurse to find out what works best for them.
Sophie Hodgson is a registered nurse degree apprentice student, adult nursing, Bournemouth University