Reflective practice is listed as one of the key domains that make up the National Competency Standards for the Midwife. It is through reflective processes that both students and
registered midwives can identify and explore diverse values, beliefs, learning needs and sociocultural structures. To facilitate your reflective skill development you are required to complete a
reflective piece of writing for each of the three (3) recruited 'continuity of care experience' women you are working with.
Overview of Reflective Journal Writing:
A reflective journal is a way of thinking in a critical and analytical way about your clinical experience. It involves looking at a situation, assessing what you have learnt from it, what you could have
done differently, realising new approaches to your care and ultimately, how you felt about the whole experience. As a student midwife it shows how different aspects of your work interconnect and
can be very useful for identifying gaps in knowledge and ethical dilemmas or situations that need further thought.
Understanding your feelings is a vital skill for reflective writing, and studying midwifery involves being exposed to a lot of new situations - doing your first antenatal booking; helping a woman with
breastfeeding support; witnessing a birth - which can bring new reactions to the surface. It's important to comprehend what you feel, why you feel that way and to then learn from it, as failing to
reflect can lead to poor insight and therefore poor performance in practice (Hays & Gay, 2011).
*Reflective writing is more personal than other kinds of academic writing and is an exploration of events not just a description of them.
Reflective Journal Requirements:
(Refer to the provided Reflective Journal Template and the Two Reflective Journal examples)
How to structure reflective writing
It can be useful to use a reflective model, or series of questions, which will help you look at the whole event from many different angles (Macdonald, 2011; Driscoll, 1994; Benner, 1984). The
Driscoll model has a very simple 'what', 'so what' and 'now what' model, which is easy to remember and write up. There are three common reflective writing models that you may choose to follow
when writing reflectively: Van Manen, Gibbs and Durgahee (Giminez, 2011). The models all involve thinking systematically about the phases of an activity, using headings including: description,
feelings, evaluation, analysis, conclusion and action plan. These theoretical frameworks provide a starting point for the critical skills that all student midwives should develop by the end of their
1. Description: (don't make this too long - refer to the provided template)
What is it? What happened? Why am I talking about it?
2. Interpretation: What is important and relevant? Look through your description and try to find words or phrases that require further exploration. Include the rationale for what was done or
why it was done. Where there is controversy about what was done or found, provide the rationale and sources of evidence for both sides of the argument. How can it be explored and explained
using contemporary theories.
3. Outcome: What have I learned from this? How will it influence my future work?
Above all, enjoy writing the journal - it is about you and your reflection and your development as a clinical midwife!