At a base level, the statement made by Jarvis (2006, p. 10) as quoted by Meriam and Beirema (2014) on page 112, “An individual can contemplate an experience and “either accept or change” (contemplation), or “think about the situation and then act upon it, either confirming or innovating upon it” (reflective practice) is descriptive of the concept of reflective practice.
If we take this very basic definition and build on it, reflective practice is a journey of personal awareness. Reflective practice is an essential part of being a nurse and an educator.
Reflective practice is a bit like dissecting one’s own thoughts and practices. It is a humbling process of examining what happened, why and most importantly building on that awareness so that you are prepared if or when you are faced with the same problem or event.
Reflective journaling, if done diligently is a cathartic process where we are given the opportunity to critically review an event, class or whatever. We can examine our thoughts and emotions that were at play during an event. It is through the review of personal reflective journal entries that creates a learning environment.
Nurses need to be self-aware, self-directing and in touch with their work environment. Being responsible for the provision of care to patients and their families, it is essential that nurses have the knowledge, skills, competencies and professionalism to meet the demands of practicing in today’s healthcare environment.
An educator needs to be aware of their practice, their beliefs and assumptions in a very challenging and dynamic environment that is education. The only way that we can be sure that we are providing the best care possible is through reflective practice. Reflective practice sounds so easy. It’s not.
Larravvie, B (2000) states, “there are three practices essential for developing reflective practice skills; making time for solitary reflection, becoming a perpetual problem-solver and questioning the status quo”. She states the “first creates an opening for the possibility of reflection while the other allow for a way of developing teaching practices that accept uncertainty, recognizes contextual bounds and considers multiple plausible, causal explanation for events and circumstances”.