Students are required to keep an account of their clinical learning experience in a journal entry. Students are required to reflect on three clinical situations they experienced related to their specific area of practice. Examples of clinical situations that student can reflect upon will include at least 3 themes from the following list (but not limited to): meeting the educational needs of the patients, families and significant others; functioning as a nurse in a multidisciplinary health care team; communication problems with colleagues/clients/clients’ families; clinical issues; or ethical dilemmas. Students need to identify their personal and professional parameters in a way they have handled the situation that evolved from their clinical practice, reflect on those aspects and identify the learning points. Students will use the Gibb’s reflective cycle as a framework for their reflection. Students must add some suggestions/recommendations at the end, resulting from analysing their reflections. Students will need to allocate time to reflect on their experiences in practice, explore their personal thoughts, feelings and emotions, focusing on positive and negative aspects of the experience.
Write My Essay Today: No1 Essay Writing Service AU for Your Academic Papers – Guidelines for reflective journaling
In this unit students are required to reflect on their learning experiences by adapting Gibb’s model of reflection to describe an event/issue/problem they have encountered in their specialty clinical practice.
1. Description: Explore the context of the event in a specialty area of an acute care setting and describes the event, where it happened and what actually occurred.
2. Feelings/emotions: Explore and describe your thought: and feelings at the time of the event/issue/problem encountered.
3. Evaluation: Make your own judgement as a nurse, about the outcome of the event; to identify what went well and areas for improvement. Was the event resolved satisfactorily?. Self- examination and selfevaluation of the event/issue/problem encountered.
4. Analysis: Draw on your critical thinking/analysis as a nurse to explore the situation at a deeper level and consider, why the event occurred, and if anything could have been implemented to prevent this event from happening.
5. Conclusion: Explore alternative actions that may be used to deal with similar situations to affect a more positive outcome.
6. Action Plan: Consider the event and to put in place a plan which, on implementation, would deal more effectively with similar future events. This could include further educational training/skilIs development.

The Importance of Reflective Journaling in Clinical Learning Experiences
Reflective journaling is a crucial tool for nursing students to document, analyze, and learn from their clinical practice experiences. Maintaining a journal allows students to critically examine situations they encounter, identify areas for improvement, and track their own professional development over time. The process of reflection fosters deeper learning by encouraging students to connect theory to real-world patient care. Regular journaling also benefits educators by providing a window into students’ clinical placements and a means to assess competencies. This article explores the value of reflective journaling, provides a framework to structure entries using Gibbs’ Reflective Cycle, and offers recommendations for maximizing learning through self-reflection.
Why Reflective Journaling Matters in Nursing Education
Reflective journaling supports clinical learning in several key ways. First, it helps students process emotionally challenging or ethically complex situations that may arise in patient care settings (Johns, 2017). Nursing often involves caring for vulnerable populations facing illness, injury, death, and other difficult circumstances. Taking time to reflect on one’s thoughts, feelings, and decision-making can prevent burnout while strengthening compassion. Journaling also allows students to document their experiences for future reference as they continue to develop clinical reasoning and judgment skills (Aronson et al., 2020). Looking back on past entries reveals patterns in a student’s strengths and areas needing improvement over successive placements.
Additionally, reflective writing facilitates linking theory to practice. After describing a clinical event, students can analyze it through the lens of concepts learned in the classroom, such as communication techniques, disease processes, or ethical principles (Wong et al., 1995). This helps cement didactic knowledge in a meaningful, applicable context. Educators then have material to assess the transfer of learning from school to the patient care environment. Finally, the reflective process encourages self-awareness as students evaluate their own performance, assumptions, and development as professionals (Plack et al., 2005). Regular self-examination is crucial for lifelong learning and improving one’s ability to provide compassionate, culturally sensitive care.
A Framework for Structuring Reflective Journal Entries
To guide purposeful reflection, many nursing programs adopt Gibbs’ Reflective Cycle as a framework for journaling (Gibbs, 1988). This model prompts students to methodically describe, analyze, and draw insights from clinical situations they encounter. The following overview breaks down each stage of the cycle:
Description: Students objectively recount details of the event such as location, participants, sequence of actions, and their own role. This establishes a factual foundation.
Feelings: Students explore and record their emotional response in the moment, including thoughts, anxieties, frustrations, or other reactions. This adds a subjective perspective.
Evaluation: Students make a value judgment about what went well and what could be improved, considering outcomes and whether standards of care were met. Self-assessment is involved.
Analysis: Students think critically about why the event unfolded as it did, potentially identifying underlying causes or influences outside their direct control.
Conclusion: Students determine key lessons learned and how future similar situations could be handled differently given new understandings developed through reflection.
Action Plan: Students outline specific steps they will take to apply conclusions to clinical practice going forward, such as developing a new skill or modifying an approach to patient teaching.
Using this structured cycle allows students to thoroughly contemplate events from multiple angles, supporting deeper analysis than a simple narrative description alone. It also provides a consistent framework educators can use to assess reflective abilities.
Maximizing Learning through Reflective Journaling
To maximize learning value, several recommendations should be considered when engaging in reflective journaling. First, students must allocate dedicated time for writing entries, whether daily, weekly, or some other regular interval, to fully contemplate experiences (Plack et al., 2005). Rushing through journaling limits critical thought. Second, confidentiality and a non-judgmental atmosphere are important so students feel comfortable processing difficult emotions, patient interactions, or uncertainties openly (Aronson et al., 2020). Third, seeking feedback from clinical preceptors or faculty on journal entries can further learning by sparking insightful discussions (Johns, 2017). Preceptors may also provide perspective on real-world constraints students may not be aware of.
Fourth, relating entries back to course concepts through analysis strengthens connections between theory and practice. Fifth, revisiting past reflections over time reveals growth that would otherwise go unnoticed (Wong et al., 1995). Finally, sharing reflections confidentially with peers in a supportive environment allows valuable peer learning, as others may provide different viewpoints or have faced similar challenges (Plack et al., 2005). With a structured yet flexible approach, reflective journaling maximizes clinical learning experiences and fosters lifelong habits of critical self-examination essential for nursing practice.
In summary, reflective journaling provides nursing students a private space to document, explore, and learn from the complex situations they will inevitably face in clinical settings. The process of deep reflection through structured models like Gibbs’ Cycle helps cement knowledge while strengthening compassion and clinical reasoning. With regular journaling integrated thoughtfully into a program, students gain self-awareness and tools to continuously advance their skills over a career characterized by rapid change and unpredictable challenges. Educators also benefit from this window into how theory applies in real-world patient care scenarios. Overall, reflective writing enhances nursing education by supporting richer processing of hands-on learning experiences.
Aronson, L., Niehaus, B., Hill-Sakurai, L., Lai, C., & O’Sullivan, P. S. (2020). A recipe for effective reflective writing in health professions education. Advances in Health Sciences Education, 25(4), 727–737.
Gibbs, G. (1988). Learning by doing: A guide to teaching and learning methods. Further Education Unit. research essay writing service.
Johns, C. (2017). Becoming a reflective practitioner. John Wiley & Sons.
Plack, M. M., Driscoll, M., Blissett, S., McKenna, R., & Plack, T. P. (2005). A method for assessing reflective journal writing. Journal of Allied Health, 34(4), 199–208.
Wong, F. K., Kember, D., Chung, L. Y., & Yan, L. (1995). Assessing the level of student reflection from reflective journals. Journal of advanced nursing, 22(1), 48-57.

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