Skip to main content

Reflective Practice for Health Professionals: 2. How do I start?

A quick guide to introduce you to reflective practice concepts and resources available.
There are many different models of reflection, although they share many common features. A quick web search will show you all the different models in use.


Using models, or at least being aware of their similarities and differences, can help you to deconstruct experiences, ensure you are accessing the deeper level reflective questions and issues, and ultimately provide a way to structure your learning from situations.


The three W's!

Examples of Reflective models

Gibb's Reflective Cycle (1988)

Schön's model (1991)

Schön theory suggests that there are two types of reflection, one during and one after an activity / event. It presents the concept of:

  • Reflection in action

This takes place whilst you are involved in the situation i.e. a patient interaction.


  • Reflection on action

This involves stepping back from the situation, to reflect on what

occurred sometime after the event.  

Atkins and Murphy's Model of Reflection (1994)

When you write reflectively, you can use the three W's:

  • What? (description)
What happened?
Who was involved?
  • So what? (interpretation)
What is most important/interesting/relevant/ useful aspect of the event/idea/situation?
How can it be explained?
How is it similar to/different from others?
  • What next? (outcome)
What have I learned?
How can it be applied in the future?
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

Contact Us