How to write reflectively

Sally Clee, Education Training Manager, NSHCS.

Why record your reflections:

“It allows for a continuous relationship with self, where you can write and revisit as you please” (The University of Edinburgh).

Writing down or recording your reflections enables you to:

  1. Take a step back from the situation – acknowledge the emotions but not dwell on them
  2. Revisit your reflections
  3. Be forward thinking and outward looking
  4. Take time to focus on what is important – the key learning from the situation

Models of reflection

Models of reflection are a useful tool to help structure your written reflections, they ensure that you are not dwelling too much on what happened but the learning that can be extrapolated as a result, to improve and develop practice.

Common models include:

Gibb’s Model

Kolb’s Learning Cycle

What? So What? Now What? Model

The model itself is only part of the story…

Developing the depth of your reflections

Moon’s (1999) four levels of reflection* provides a framework to develop the depth of your written reflections.

The levels emphasise that reflective writing is a skill which needs to be nurtured and developed; demonstrating that it involves different levels of analysis from none to insightful, which Moon describes as a “form of mental processing”.

Depending upon your current experience of reflective practice you may find that your early reflections will be more at level one and as you practice and develop you will gain greater and greater skill at the deeper thinking needed to produce reflections more at levels three and four. 

Top Tips:

Reflect as soon after an event as is comfortable to do so – you may do this in stages if it was a particularly negative experience:

Questions for reflective writing:

The University of Hull* identifies some examples of reflective questioning to aid you in developing your reflective writing:

Reflective practice resources

To support you with reflective practice and reflective writing please use the resources developed on the Learning Hub.

I HAVE an NHS e-mail address

You can access the resources directly on the Learning Hub you will need to click on this link to sign up to the Learning Hub. Underneath the green sign-in button you will see ‘Create an account’. Click on this and follow the instructions.

Once you have access to the Learning Hub click this link to access the National School of Healthcare Science catalogue.

I DO NOT have an NHS e-mail address

Click this link to access a brief form to grant us permission to send your name and work e-mail address to the Learning Hub development team to request access. Permission cannot be granted to personal e-mails.

Once you have access to the Learning Hub click this link to access the National School of Healthcare Science catalogue.

Reflective practice resources webinars

If you would like to attend a brief launch webinar on these resources, details can be found by clicking this link.

*Moon, J. (1999). Reflection in Learning & Professional Development. Oxford: Routledge

**The University of Hull. Reflective Writing: Reflective Questioning.

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