Concept analysis of reflection in nursing professional development



Aim:  The aim of this concept analysis was to describe attributes, antecedents, and consequences of reflection in nursing professional development, as well as surrogate terms and a model case to inform nursing educators, students, and nurses about developing reflective skills.

Methods:  Rodgers' evolutionary cycle for concept analysis was used. The published work search was conducted using five databases: Education Resources Information Center (ERIC), Medline, Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), Ichushi, and British Nursing Index. The inclusion criteria were: (i) academic articles; (ii) written in English or Japanese; and (iii) including descriptions about reflection. From the pool of extant published work, 50 articles were selected for the thematic analysis.

Results:  For the concept of reflection in nursing professional development, four antecedents were identified: (i) theory and practice gap; (ii) expansion of the role and competency in nursing; (iii) educational and learning needs; and (iv) educational responsibility. The major attribute was the process of learning from experience, and the circular process included emotional reaction, description, internal examination, critical analysis, evaluation, and planning new action. The consequences were transforming new perspective, enhanced communication, professional development, and quality of care.

Conclusion:  Reflection is used as a method or tool that connects knowledge and experiences. Through the process of reflection, students/nurses become aware of themselves, which helps them review and improve clinical skills. They also become more able to communicate with patients and colleagues. Reflection enhances self-directed learning and professional maturity. Nurses who use reflection can be better positioned to provide excellent patient care.