Reflective Practice and Why It’s Important

What is reflective practice?

Reflective practice is the process of reflecting on past experiences with the view to improve or cope better in the future. This can be a group or individual process. Reflective practice is a great method to engage in after you have experienced challenging situations at work or in your personal life. Importantly, reflective practice is flexible and can be adapted to most situations we may face.

Reflection of a tree in a lake

Used by many health professionals, it is a great way for you to improve your working practice, increase your confidence and to help you become a more pro-active and reflective practitioner. The important thing to remember is that none of us are perfect and there are always ways we can look to improve.


There are a number of different reflective practice methods available based on your own personal preference. We have decided to choose two of straight forward models to use:

  • Gibbs’ reflective cycle
  • Rolfe’s framework for reflective practice’.


Here is a short description of these two methods:


  1. Gibbs’ reflective cycle

Gibbs’ reflective cycle is a process involving six steps:

  • Description (what happened?)
  • Feelings (what did you think and feel about it?)
  • Evaluation (what were the positives and negatives?)
  • Analysis (what sense can you make of it?)
  • Conclusion (what else could you have done?)
  • Action Plan (what will you do next time?).


  1. Rolfe’s framework for reflective practice

Rolfe’s framework uses three simple questions to reflect on a situation: What? So what? And now what? For example:

  • What…is the problem? …was my role? …happened? …were the consequences?
  • So whatwas going through my mind? …should I have done? …what do I know now?
  • Now whatdo I need to do? …broader issues have been raised? …might happen?


Why is reflective practice important?

It is important we continuously improve and develop in order to provide the best possible outcomes for our clients. Reflective practice is considered the tried and tested method when it comes to working with complex and challenging client groups.


Although normally considered best practice in the healthcare industry, reflective practice can be carried over to any industry that involves learning from a challenging situation, with the view to constantly improving with similar circumstances in the future. When it is used effectively, reflective practice can help buffer against burnout and will build a confident, healthier and happier team.


To find out more about our reflective practice workshop, please visit or Reflective Practice Training course page here.

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