How to undertake structured clinical reflection
Intended for healthcare professionals
Evidence and practice    

How to undertake structured clinical reflection

Barry Gerard Quinn Senior lecturer, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Queen’s University, Belfast, Northern Ireland

Why should you read this article:
  • To recognise the benefits of structured clinical reflection for nurses

  • To enhance your understanding of the various models of reflection that have been developed

  • To understand the components of a step-by-step approach to reflection that you could use in your practice

Rationale and key points

While clinical reflection has been an essential aspect of nursing practice for many years, some nurses may still find it challenging to constructively engage with this process and may not recognise the benefits and learning that can result from it. This article provides practical guidance for nurses on how to undertake reflection, to support them to reflect regularly as part of their practice.

• Reflection is a process of engaging with and learning from one’s thoughts, emotions and actions in a supportive and critical manner.

• Reflection can assist nurses to learn from practice, support team working and promote self-care.

• Nurses can reflect alone or with others, and there are various structured models of reflection that they can use to support them.

Reflective activity

‘How to’ articles can help update your practice and ensure it remains evidence based. Apply this article to your practice. Reflect on and write a short account of:

• How you think you could use this article to improve your practice in undertaking structured clinical reflection.

• How you could use this resource to educate your colleagues about the process of reflection.

Nursing Management. doi: 10.7748/nm.2023.e2075

Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and checked for plagiarism using automated software


Conflict of interest

None declared

Quinn BG (2023) How to undertake structured clinical reflection. Nursing Management. doi: 10.7748/nm.2023.e2075


Please note that information provided by Nursing Management is not sufficient to make the reader competent to perform the task. All clinical skills should be formally assessed at the bedside by a nurse educator or mentor. It is the nurse’s responsibility to ensure their practice remains up to date and reflects the latest evidence

Published online: 10 January 2023

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