Q. What is reflective writing and why is it important in nursing?


What is reflective writing?

Reflective writing is the physical act of writing your thoughts, feelings, perceptions, and interactions related to a specific event or situation.  Reflective writing can help you learn from events in order to improve your knowledge and skill set as a nurse as it can build critical thinking and reasoning.  

What are the benefits of reflective writing?

Reflective writing has many identified benefits:

  • Allows you to engage in deeper, longer-lasting learning
  • Opens a conversation between you and your instructor
  • It helps you learn about concepts instead of just facts
  • Self-reflection can help you identify your preconceived thoughts and feelings and allow you to dive deeper into understanding different cultures, values, and behaviors

What are the types of reflective writing?

Reflective writing can generally fit into three categories:

  • Highly personal:  In this type of reflective writing, the nurse takes the time to reflect on an experience from practice and does not incorporate any research or academics.  It is purely all about you and your feelings regarding a situation.
  • Mid-ground:  Mid-ground reflective writing allows the nurse to reflect upon personal experiences within the context of the course itself such as readings, research, and lecture materials
  • Highly academic:  Highly academic reflective writing is when you reflect upon the readings, research, and lecture materials without any reference to personal experiences

How do I write reflectively?

Once you identify the type of reflective writing you are asked to complete, you can start the writing process.  While there are multiple frameworks for reflective writing, here is a generic framework to help get you started:

  • Description:  Choose an event and describe what happened chronologically.  What happened?  Who was involved?  Where did it take place?  Why were you there?  What part did you play?  What part did others play?
  • Assessment/analysis:  This is the time to review the actions and steps taken during the event.  What went well?  What did not?  What were certain actions taken?Were appropriate interventions done?   
  • Evaluation/Implications:  Describe how this event impacted you.  What was the outcome of the event?  What did you learn from the event?  What would you do differently next time?  

Do you have any other resources about reflective writing in nursing?


Hamilton, S. (2016). Reflective writing: A user-friendly guide. British Journal of Nursing, 25(16), 936-937. http://ezproxy.rasmussen.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=mnh&AN=27615533&site=eds-live

Kenninson, M. (2012). Developing reflective writing as effective pedagogy. Nursing Education Perspectives, 33(5), 306-311. http://ezproxy.rasmussen.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=keh&AN=86236064&site=eds-live

Regmi, K., & Naidoo, J. (2013). Understanding the processes of writing papers reflectively. Nurse Researcher, 20(6), 33-39. http://ezproxy.rasmussen.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=keh&AN=88922096&site=eds-live

Taylor, D.B. (2013). Reflective writingIn S. Worsey (Ed.), Writing skills for nursing and midwifery students (pp. 170-178). Retrieved from http://ezproxy.rasmussen.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=nlebk&AN=775782&site=eds-live&ebv=EB&ppid=pp_177





  • Last Updated Mar 05, 2021
  • Views 2602
  • Answered By Kristie Keuntjes, Learning Services Coordinator

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