Posted: January 23rd, 2023

Nursing clinical reflection essay: How to write, guide types and examples

When you begin a reflective paper, self-reflection may appear to be the no-brainer. However, digging into your own ideas and experiences is more difficult than it appears. If you are stuck on how to gain an understanding of a nursing clinical reflective essay, this is the right article for you. Nursing clinical reflection essay: How to write, guide types and examples:

This article will provide you with enough tips which will guide you in writing an exemplary student reflection in nursing. You will get tips on points to include, what to avoid the reflection ideas to incorporate. Before proceeding into more content, discover what a nursing clinical reflective essay is.

What is a nursing reflective essay?

A nursing clinical reflective essay is a type of writing that is based on your feelings, experiences and views on an issue. For a student in the nursing field, reflective essays help them practice their skills and widen their knowledge. The notion of reflective clinical practise is widely accepted as an important part of a healthcare professional’s work.

Clinical reflection would be today regarded an essential ability that every health care worker should put into practice on a regular basis, given the ever-increasing pressures for service growth and self-progression. Reflection has been used in physiotherapy to improve patient care, clinical supervision, teamwork, and clinical reasoning.

Reflective practice in nursing, when done correctly, can help you improve your competence as a clinical worker. A nursing clinical reflective essay chips in to help aspiring health workers express into writing their expertise in the field.

How to  start the nursing clinical reflection journey?

Refection in a nursing clinical reflection essay is vital as it ensures effectiveness and continued professional development in your clinical practice. Critical reflection in nursing calls for professional guidance.

As a professional healthcare student, it is less likely that you will start your reflective journey by being assigned to keep a diary containing your daily clinical placements. The journal involves answering most thought-provoking queries which direct and facilitate the reflection. Such questions include:

  • What happened?
  • What made you select that method?
  • What worked out well?
  • Is there a research to back-up your decisions?
  • What would have taken place better?
  • Which actions could work well for later implementation?

It is better if you initiated your reflections in writing since it helps in cementing their different stages. Once you develop the skill as a healthcare expert, you can internally reflect all day long in a formal way (in writing) upon a significant activity or event.

What are the preparations for writing a nursing clinical reflective essay?

Before you engage in the entire exercise of writing a nursing clinical experience essay, preparation is mandatory. Writing a nursing clinical reflection essay is a lengthy process that necessitates complete focus on a topic.

That is why it’s critical to go into “study mode” and focus solely on the process of writing. With no doubt, the workload you should complete will overwhelm you. Keep anxiousness at bay. Simply follow these guidelines to write a fantastic reflective essay on clinical nursing.

Strip Away distractions

That’s all there is to it. Surprisingly, the majority of major issues arise during this stage .So all you have to do now is figure out how to overcome them.

  • Turn off all of your electronic devices (including your mobile phone)
  • Remove anything from your environment that can capture your focus and lead to losing focus on your writing
  • If mandatory, get earplugs

Then put yourself in a “learning mode.”

  • Visit the restroom, eat, sip and meditate, and so on as part of your pre-game procedures.
  • Get the excitement from the way first. Set aside enough time as you are not tempted afterwards.
  • Prepare some essential items: Open your notepad or make a word file. Ensure you get all the required notes and materials at hand.


After you’ve created ideal surroundings, take another important step and begin writing. Even if you are expressing your personal narrative, research is a key aspect of any scholarly work. Here, you would begin your quest for creative concepts:

  • Online healthcare journal articles
  • Your college reading room
  • Your course materials.

No matter which topic you choose, keep in mind that most essays in nursing follow the same format. You must note that your story must be distinctive. Use the questions below as a skeleton for your clinical intuition in nursing essay. Thereafter, fill it with own content. You are midway to an exceptional mark if you’ve answered most of the questions below correctly.

  • What exactly is the problem?
  • What is the source of this problem?
  • Why do we need to be concerned?
  • What is the best course of action?
  • What is the benefit of your essay to humanity?

Create an outline and a draft

It’s no surprise that planning is an important aspect of the reflection of clinical practice nursing essay. It helps to reach the logical flow of ideas and the right argument organization. You can also quickly alter a properly-developed framework if something appears incorrect.

Changing a section of your outline is always preferable to revising the whole paragraph. The following is a sample outline for your nursing clinical reflective essay:


  1. Hook
  2. Thesis

Main Body

  1. 1st point(evidence,  examples, other supportive information)
  2.  2nd Point (evidence,  examples, other supportive information)
  3.  3rd point (evidence, evidence,  examples, other supportive information)


A conclusion is a reiteration of your thesis statement

Finally, a remarkable phrase

It’s a good idea to compose a rough sketch of your nursing clinical reflection essay after you’ve created an outline. This phase will assist you in avoiding any potential errors before delivering the essay. You have now learnt how to prepare to draft a nursing clinical reflective essay. However, do you know the elements of the essay? Below is a portion of the elements you should consider:

Elements of a nursing clinical reflection essay


The introduction of your nursing narrative essay about clinical reflection outlines the essay’s overall objective and gives readers an idea of the situation. The topic sentence is a very important section of the introduction paragraph. It’s usually the last sentence of the introduction. Your thesis should be brief and clear, and it should clearly state your perspective.

The situation illustration

Because a reflective essay is built on prior experiences, the main point of the article is describing those events. You should include the most valuable and essential details in this area.

Sharing personal feelings:

This part explains your reactions to situations and how you would develop emotional control.

Experience evaluation

This section is an overview of the knowledge and skills you gained during your work experience.

Reflection and learning opportunities

The previous part is intertwined with this one. Whereas you previously only gave a synopsis, now you’ll explain what this incident taught you. Also, describe your self-development future route.


The conclusion part is straightforward. Simply outline what you addressed in your entire essay.

Methods of reflection in nursing clinical essays

There are several clinical reflection examples inclusive of numerous reflective practice scales and questionnaires. Each mode of reflection is equally important given that is incorporates:

  • A record that is of use to you
  • A memory cue
  • Honestly written
  • Fascinating to complete
  • Involves critical, objective and deep thinking

Two methods of reflection by Schon are reflection-in-action and reflection-by-action You reflect in action when you are executing an activity. Reflecting on the action means you are evaluating your practice when the event is done. The information you gain can be turned into knowledge. Read on to see an elaborated characterization of very reflection:


  • Involves reflecting while practicing on an event that is taking place
  • Done by professional practitioners
  • ‘Research on spot’- while a practitioner acquires a new situational comprehension, the situation gets changed.
  • It needs ‘’conscious payment of attention to task.”
  • The practitioner is considered as his/her own supervisor. They question their actions (meta reflection)

Reflection-on action

  • Novice practitioners are in charge of its execution
  • It involves thinking of ‘biases, expectations and beliefs’ after the occasion
  • Reflecting on what took place, the performed actions and the cause of the outcome change the following time.
  • Reflection-on action in clinical practice turns expertise to knowledge.

Frameworks for structuring reflection in a nursing clinical essay

Reflection in a nursing clinical reflection essay is an individualized activity, just like your choice of framework. This makes sure you get the most from the reflection framework you select. Below are the various frameworks:

Gibb’s cycle of reflection in a nursing clinical essay (1988)

This model gives a structure of learning from one’s experiences. The Gibb’s model of reflection enhances your skills in critical thinking as a nurse. Through the model you are also able to have an insightful thought on clinical-related cases and the adverse events origins. It has six cycles which guide you while penning down information:

  • Description
  • Feelings
  • Evaluation of experiences
  • Analysis
  • Conclusion
  • Action plan


Here, you describe the event that you are reflecting upon. A description gives precise and short background information concerning the occurrence.


Focuses on feelings and thoughts at the time the event occurs and after.


Involves having a reflection on the just concluded experience by responding to the questions below:

  • What were your reactions to the incidence?
  • What was your reaction afterwards?
  • What were other people’s reactions?
  • If it were problem-solving incidence- was the case resolved?

If there exists an evidence regarding the event you reflect upon, you can include it here.


In this section, you should demonstrate your reflection of the experience.

  • Select the points which you think hinder or enhance your experience
  • Make up your mind on what you think went well and what went wrong
  • Connect the experience you had to the reports on the literature


Conclusion concerns summarizing results of the incidence that you reflect upon.

  • Could you do the same thing?
  • What could you change?
  • What would be your actions in stopping the similar things from taking place in future?
  • How would you ensure similar thing takes place again to be sure of a similar positive outcome?

Action plan

Action plan considers your next action. It illustrates how you shall implement the amendments you identify to get the outcome you want next to me, be it improvement of performance or achievement of standard maintenance.

John’s model structure of clinical reflection (2000)

This model is structured and has questions set which are asked to guide a reflector throughout the process. Some users find this model a bit restrictive. John’s model has 5 categories of questions as listed below:

  • Description
  • Reflection
  • Influencing factors
  • Evaluation
  • Learning

1.      Description

  • Phenomenon- Elaborate the now and here experience
  • Causal-What necessary factors led to the experience?
  • Context: Which significant background factors led to the experience?
  • Clarifying: Which are the major reflection processes to the experience?

2. Reflection

  • What did I attempt to achieve?
  • What made me intervene as I made my attempt?
  • What were my action’s consequences for: Myself? The patient or family? My colleagues at work?
  • What were my feelings concerning this experience while it took place?

What were the patient’s feelings about it?

3. Influencing factors

  • Which internal factors led to my decision?
  • Which external factors influenced the decision I made?
  • Which knowledge source did or should have led to the decision I made?

4. Evaluation

  • What were my choices?
  • What were the consequences of the choices?
  • How has the experience influenced my manner of knowledge? (Empirically? Aesthetically? Aesthetically? Personally?

Driscoll’s/Borton’s framework of development (1970)

Borton’s 3 queries: What? So What? and now what led to John Driscoll’s experiential learning. The 3 questions created a simple structure to support reflection. The Driscoll’s framework is a common option exploited by most health care experts and advocated for by expert bodies. Examples of Borton’s questions used on the reflection of clinical practice nursing essay are as shown below:


The ‘what?’’ questions prompt the person reflecting to elaborate what has taken place.

  • Which actions were taken by the individuals involved?
  • Which role did I play?
  • What happened?
  • Which action did I take?
  • What problems were defined?

So What?

This question analyzes the reflection

  • What lesson did you acquire?
  • What was vital?
  • What results did you gather?

What now?

The section concentrates on your next action and what your experience in learning means for future practice.

  • What action are you supposed to take now?
  • What are the repercussions?
  • How would you resolve the issue/improve the result?
  • How would what you have gained from the experience amend your practice in future?

You’ve studied about three of the most important learning frameworks and reflective structures for clinical practice. It’s crucial to remember that introspection is a skill that requires a lot of practice. When choosing a framework to utilize, it’s critical to consider alternative frameworks and structures for diverse situations, based on what works best for you and the situation.

Daily reflections (for example, as CPD events) may be ideally tailored to Borton’s approach, but a more comprehensive framework, like Gibbs, would be more suitable for a scholarly job or a noteworthy occurrence at work.

To build an evidence-based argument, it is also necessary to research related literature, examine your personal experience, and explore anecdotal evidence, all of which should be included in your clinical reflections. This helps you build a research-based approach in the reflective practice.

Nursing clinical reflective essay for an assignment

For the sake of an assignment, your nursing student final clinical experience essay should entail more than simply recounting events. It also doesn’t imply dumping everything you’re thinking and feeling in a haphazard manner. The inclusion of facts or examples to demonstrate your reflections, as well as an analytical approach, is all required in reflective writing.

You’re attempting to tread a fine line amid your personal viewpoint and the demands of sound academic practices and critical thinking. This entails forming an argument or a path of reasoning. Other useful pointers are as shown below:

  • Indicating that you’re well-informed, that you have studied existing literature and considered its significance within your own progress 
  • Demonstrating that you understand that circumstances are rarely easy and straightforward.
  • Composing in an effective way about the connection between your practice/experiences as well as your reading.

Frequently asked questions about a nursing clinical reflective essay

Anyone tasked with writing a nursing clinical reflective essay may be overwhelmed with a list of questions. Among the questions are as indicated below:

Why do you write a nursing clinical reflective essay?

A nursing clinical reflective essay describes one’s feelings regarding a prior experience, along with how one evolved and how one learnt as a result of the experience.

It’s frequently recounted in a journal entry, which is meant to show how well the author’s opinions have evolved over time.

What are the characteristics of a good clinical nursing reflective essay?

The objective and subjective aspects of a reflective essay should be mixed together. We combine academic research with personal history. This paper type should clarify to your readers how experiences can shape their conduct and the w skills we’ve learnt from them.

Why do you write a nursing clinical reflective essay?

A nursing clinical reflective essay describes one’s feelings regarding a prior experience, along with how one evolved and how one learnt as a result of the experience. It’s frequently recounted in a journal entry, which is meant to show how well the author’s opinions have evolved over time.

What are the characteristics of a good clinical nursing reflective essay

The objective and subjective aspects of a reflective essay should be mixed together. We combine academic research with personal history. This paper type should clarify to your readers how experiences can shape their conduct and the skills you learnt from them.

What are the three fundamental components of a nursing clinical reflection essay?

An essay must be well-structured and divided into three sections. It should contain a clear opening that reflects the problem, a center section that analyzes the causes, and a conclusion that discusses possible remedies to the issue and how it impacted the author.

Which is the best model to use in a nursing clinical reflective essay?

The Gibbs framework is among the effective alternatives for nurses. The design is straightforward and easy to understand. As a result, you can use it in any setting without difficulty.

Things to avoid in nursing clinical reflective essay

Gaining an entry into a nursing institution can be tough. Even with the greatest grades and a good GPA, getting into nursing school is difficult. As a result, your essay must be of a highest caliber! Learning the most common errors and avoiding them in your paper is one of the finest strategies to ensure that your work is faultless. The following is a list of the most common nursing application essay mistakes.

Not mentioning your personal nursing experience.

 A nursing admission essay appears to be very weak without a real-life anecdote. It’s not enough to list the personal attributes which a nurse ought to have.


Copying or plagiarizing in your reflection of clinical practice nursing essay can result in a failing grade on your work or rejection from the colleges you are submitting an application to. Plagiarism is unethical, to say the least. In order to prevent any problems, make sure you reference all of your references and tell a true and original story.

Constantly repeating yourself

This is a common difficulty in the opening and concluding paragraphs. Do not rewrite the information from your introduction into the conclusion if you really need to link the opening and last paragraphs. Rather, consolidate your ideas and complete your article in a dynamic manner.

Not giving enough arguments to support up your claims

It’s absurd to keep reminding students of this, but some learners still fail to elaborate why they need to attend a particular institution. If you’re writing a nursing application essay, ensure you don’t make this mistake.

Additional hints for writing a nursing clinical reflective essay

You have arrived at a moment whereby you can begin writing your nursing clinical reflective essay. But wait; here are a few more items you should take a glimpse at.

  • Always begin your student nurse essay by reviewing the task directions. This is the most effective method of determining what will be evaluated in your essay.
  • Do not be afraid to seek assistance and advice from your professors. They wouldn’t like you to get low grades in your student nurse homework and essays, regardless of whether you believe or not.
  • You’ll need to discover and read many nursing material to write a decent nursing student essay. Remember that it typically takes a long time. As a result, begin your study as soon as possible.
  • Nursing clinical reflective essays follow a standard structure. Ensure you have each required paragraphs. Keep in mind that there are precise terminologies which you should use in your work. Stick to the proper paper format on your paper (e.g MLA, APA or Chicago format.)
  • How do you summarize an essay without copy pasting? Balance your text. While going through your paper, pay close attention not only on your narration’s logic. You should also confirm the length of your paper that contains your individual thoughts as well as the percentage of the review of the task of other people.

Parts of an application essay

You’re certainly aware that nursing school competition is particularly fierce when contrasted to other higher education institutions. If you would like to be approved, your paper must be exceptional. Read on to see a list of most important sections of every nursing admission essay.

These sections contain all pertinent information that admissions personnel need to understand about a candidate.

  1. Make a justification

To begin, you must discuss how you came to the idea of becoming a nurse. Is there anyone who had an impact on your decision? Was there a specific event that influenced your professional choice? Do you wonder about the type of nursing that you would like to pursue?

These are crucial questions to address in your nursing school application essay. By answering these questions, you are doing double duty. You’ll not only describe why you chose to be a nurse, but you will also confirm that your aims are sincere.

  1. Demonstrate your worth

You must provide details about your nursing experience. Nursing is a position that generally requires some prior experience. Your nursing clinical reflective essay will not persuade anyone if you’ve never seen syringes in your entire life. Write an individual statement.

Make it sturdy as well.

  1. Demonstrate that you are prepared

You must demonstrate your readiness to be a nurse and that you are equipped to confront all nursing challenges .Nursing is draining on both an emotional and physical level. As a result, you must display your highest individual and professional ideals. Demonstrate to the admissions counselors that you’re qualified to work as a nurse.

The bottom line

You are now equipped with the essential guidelines on how to write a nursing clinical reflective essay. It’s time to pen down relevant information that will make your essay stand out and give you a higher chance of being selected to study in a nursing institution. Go ahead and grab the opportunity by reading carefully he above tips.


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