Johns' model of reflectionAtkins and Murphy's model of reflection (1994)Gibbs' model of reflection (1988)Other models
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Reflective Practice in Health Sciences  

Last Updated: Sep 10, 2015 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

Introduction   Print Page

What is reflective practice?

By Fcb981 via Wikimedia Commons

Reflective practice occurs when you explore an experience you have had to identify what happened, and what your role in the experience was – including your behaviour and thinking, and related emotions. This, allows you to look at changes to your approach for similar future events. If reflective practice is performed comprehensively and honestly, it will inevitably lead to improved performances.

Other authors have described it as follows:

  • ‘Process of internally examining and exploring an issue of concern, triggered by an experience, which creates and clarifies meaning in terms of self and which results in a changed conceptual perspective’ (Boyd and Fales, 1983, p.100)                                     
  • ‘....requires you to stand back, to consciously analyse your decision making processes, drawing on theory and applying it again in practice’. (CSP, Information paper 31, 2005)             
  •   ‘Professional activity in which the practitioner thinks critically about their practice and as a result may modify their action or behaviour and/or modify their learning needs’ (CSP, Information paper 31, 2005)              
    • 'The way in which an individual develops a repertoire of knowledge and ability, which can be drawn upon in future situations'.  (Schon, 1983)


    Sarah Barradell - Lecturer in Physiotherapy

    Priscilla Ennals - Lecturer in Occupational Therapy

    Melissah Burnett - Lecturer in Neonatal Intensive Nursing & Midwifery

    Fiona Murphy - Coordinator, Learning & Teaching, Science Health & Engineering, Library

    Sharon Karasmanis - Manager, Learning & Teaching, Library

    Amanda Connors - Lecturer in Nursing.



    Gibbs 1988


    This is one example of different models of reflection. For other examples of models for reflective practice see: models of reflection

    Journal articles

    Find these articles and book chapters using the library catalogue

    • Kinsella, E. (2001). Reflections on reflective practice. Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy, 68(3), 195-8
      This Canadian article introduces the idea of reflective practice, and how it can both contribute to improved therapeutic outcomes for clients and develop the practice of individual therapists. It makes important points about the context of practice (the physical, social, cultural and institutional environment) and about therapist self knowledge and personal assumptions. Look at the ten actions of reflective practitioners and consider which of these you are bringing to your placement experiences.
    • Andrews, J. (2000). The value of reflective practice: A student case study. British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 63(8), 396-8.
      This article is written by an occupational therapy student and describes the process she went through to ensure her practice was reflective while she was on a professional practice placement. She draws on Boud and Walker’s (1990) model of reflection. It is useful to read about how other students digest and interpret theory so it guides their practice; this is the process expected of you during your placements.
    • Boud, D., & Walker, D. (1990). Making the most of experience. Studies in Continuing Education, 12(2), 61-80.
    • Boud, Keogh & Walker, (1985). Promoting reflection in learning: A model. In Boud, Keogh & Walker (Eds.) Reflection: Turning experience into learning. London: Kogan Page, pp.18-40.

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