Reflective essays may seem simple on the surface, but they can be a real stumbling block if you’re not quite sure how to go about them. In simple terms, reflective essays constitute a critical examination of a life experience and, with the right guidance, they’re not too challenging to put together. A reflective essay is similar to other essays in that it needs to be easily understood and well structured, but the content is more akin to something personal like a diary entry.
This is a summary of my Fall 2015 clinical experience. Here, you will find a detailed outline of the following learning objectives: patient-centred care, professionalism, leadership, system-based practice, informatics and technology, communication, teamwork and collaboration, safety, quality involvement, and evidence-based practice. In addition to the learning objectives, you will also find a summary of my strengths from this academic semester and my learning goals for the coming semesters.
Objective: Patient-Centered Care
Document Choice and Reason for Selecting the Document: I chose 353 Nursing Process Paper. This semester I completed a nursing process assignment on a patient from my clinical site. The nursing process included a detailed assessment, nursing diagnosis, expected outcomes, plan/implementation, and an evaluation. I selected this document as an example of patient-centred care because my patient’s preferences, values, and needs were considered while completing this process. I also considered how my nursing plan would impact my patient’s care by individualizing my nursing interventions. This assignment is an example of how I provided holistic care that recognizes the patient’s preferences, values and needs. It also is an example of how I respected the patient as a partner in providing compassionate, coordinated, age and culturally appropriate, safe and effective care.
Strengths and Evidence Supporting Objective: I believe I was successful in meeting this level objective because I assessed the patient’s values, preferences, and needs. My assessment allowed me to provide patient-centred care and think critically. In my nursing process paper, you will find a detailed description of my patient’s health history, lifestyle, and tools I used for the assessment. You will also find an evidence-based practice that supports my interventions and the smart goals I set for my patient. Overall, I believe I had satisfactory strengths in this level objective.
Improvements for Objective: At this point, I believe I need to work on strengthening my assessment skills. I often find myself identifying marginal assessment information as valuable. I believe with more nursing education and skill development I will be able to more easily recognize noteworthy assessment data.
Document Choice and Reason for Selecting the Document: I chose 353 Health History Activity. In my clinical practicum course, I was required to complete the health history of a patient. This opportunity allowed me to demonstrate accountability for the delivery of standard-based nursing care that is consistent with moral, altruistic, legal, ethical, regulatory, and humanistic principles.
Strengths and Evidence Supporting Objective: One of my strengths is maintaining a professional appearance and attitude while working with colleagues and patients. I also made sure to provide privacy for my patient by using the patient’s initials when speaking to the class about my learning experience and patient progress.
Improvements for Objective: I am excited to learn how to better maintain my professional behaviour from other nurses as I work alongside them in the coming semesters.
Document Choice and Reason for Selecting the Document: I chose the Final Reflection. For this assignment, I was encouraged to identify my strengths and weaknesses. Identifying personal and professional beliefs and values regarding leadership allowed me to reflect on my self-awareness and motivated me to address my personal biases.
Strengths and Evidence Supporting Objective: Since I have previous clinical experience, I was able to teach and help other student nurses in my cohort. I also was able to add valuable information to my clinical instructor’s discussion.
Improvements for Objective: I would like to work on making sure my personal biases do not interfere with my professional behaviours.
Objective: Systems-Based Practice
Document Choice and Reason for Selecting the Document: I chose the Midterm Reflection Paper. This assignment allowed me to demonstrate my ability to effectively call on microsystem resources to provide care. Although much of what I have learned in class demonstrates an awareness of and responsiveness to the larger context of the health care system, my clinical experience forced me to look at my knowledge differently. The midterm reflection assignment really allowed me to care for and understand my patient on a micro-level.
Strengths and Evidence Supporting Objective: My clinical experience allowed me to test the skills and knowledge that I have learned in class. I was able to bridge concepts and practice my nursing skills.
Improvements for Objective: I often prefer to learn at the macro level. Practising at the micro-level really gave me the chance to see that micro-level learning is just as important. My goal is to appreciate micro-level learning more.
Objective: Informatics and Technology
Document Choice and Reason for Selecting the Document: I chose the Nursing Process Part 1 as an example for this objective. For this assignment, I used information and technology to communicate, manage knowledge, mitigate error, and support decision-making. I was able to navigate through patient charts to retrieve and enter pertinent data and information while maintaining privacy and confidentiality. I was also able to communicate with nurses, nursing assistants, physical and occupational therapists, and physicians.
Strengths and Evidence Supporting Objective: At first, going through paper document were overwhelming and confusing. However, after a while filtering through the entire paper chart documents became easier. This experience strengthened my ability to navigate through health records
Improvements for Objective: This semester we mostly looked through paper documents. Although I had limited access to electronic records, I am excited to learn how different electronic health records are managed.
Document Choice and Reason for Selecting the Document: Near the end of my fall 2015 clinical experience, I had the opportunity to observe physical and occupational therapists (PT/OT) work with older adult patients. As a sat in the rehabilitation room, I was able to get a fundamental understanding of the importance of PT/OT sessions. I interacted effectively with patients, and colleagues, fostering mutual respect and shared decision making, to enhance patient satisfaction and health outcomes. This experience was beneficial not only because I now have a better understanding of the difference between physical therapy and occupational therapy, but also because I was reminded of the importance of interdisciplinary communication and how nurses often reinforce PT/OT therapies.
Strengths and Evidence Supporting Objective: I know when to communicate with people when I need assistance and when I notice a change in patient health or behaviour. I also know it is important to communicate with people from different disciplines and to use clear, concise, and professional written, electronic, verbal, and non-verbal communication.
Improvements for Objective: Although I got the chance to shadow a nurse this semester, I am looking forward to communicating more with nurses and physicians in the coming semesters.
Objective: Teamwork and Collaboration
Document Choice and Reason for Selecting the Document: I chose 351 Nurse Issue Presentation. For this project, my cohort decided to focus on the image of nursing in the media. Our team project involved an in-depth analysis of how nurses are often portrayed as subservient to other health professionals or incompetent in clinical practice. We developed a class presentation, including recommendations for current and future ways to address the nursing image and how the American Nurse Association is currently addressing the issue. I selected this document as an example of my teamwork and collaboration skills from this semester because this project required a great deal of teamwork and collaboration. Functioning within nursing and interdisciplinary teams, fostering open communication, mutual respect, shared decision-making, team learning, and development can be difficult. As my team completed the assignment, we each were responsible for a different task and brought our work together
Strengths and Evidence Supporting Objective: I made sure to evenly divide the work up among my group members. We also used Google Docs, which is an online application that allows users to share documents and work on them simultaneously. For this assignment, I learned the essential components of nursing (teamwork) and interdisciplinary teams including communication, ethics, collaboration, and self-awareness.
Improvements for Objective: I look forward to working in teams and learning new team dynamics.
Document Choice and Reason for Selecting the Document: I chose 352 Group Safety Presentation. In this course, my cohort was divided into small groups and researched different safety concepts. Utilizing, the Joint Commission 2016 Safety Goals and the tools from the Quality and Safety Education for Nurses website, we gathered information on how to assess, prevent, and identify patients at risk for falling. As I reflect on this experience, I began to appreciate the nursing skills I learned. It is the role of the nurse to provide safe caring environments for patients as well as teach patients how to stay safe at and away from home. Minimizing risks of harm to patients and providers through both system effectiveness and individual performance articulates the essential role of nurses in providing safe care environments.
Strengths and Evidence Supporting Objective: I continuously make sure I am practising safely and that I am not putting any patient or colleague at harm. To me, safety is important and when I need health from other nursing students I am not afraid to ask.
Improvements for Objective: This semester I did not get the chance to work with needles and injections. Although my clinical instructor briefly showed us how to take apart and put to get a needle, I am looking forward to learning more about safe needle use.
Objective: Quality Improvement
Document Choice and Reason for Selecting the Document: I chose 353 Nursing Process Part 2. I used data to monitor the outcomes of care processes and used improvement methods to design and test changes to continuously improve the quality and safety of health care systems.
Strengths and Evidence Supporting Objective: I was able to review patients’ records before meeting with them. This preparation gave me the chance to make sure I had the most updated information and monitor patients’ health outcomes.
Improvements for Objective: I am hoping to get more chances to navigate through electronic records and use portable nursing headsets.
Objective: Evidence-Based Practice
Document Choice and Reason for Selecting the Document: In my Health and Illness course, we identify and use evidence about specific health and illness concepts relevant to nursing care of patients across the life span. I worked in a group that focused on skin integrity across the lifespan. We identify, evaluate, and use the best current evidence coupled with clinical expertise and consideration of patients’ preferences, experiences and values to make practice decisions. We also describe the concept of evidence-based practice (EBP) as integral to determining the best nursing practice approaches.
Strengths and Evidence Supporting Objective: For this assignment, I was able to back up my findings with nursing research. I realize the importance of EBP and how it is very helpful in clinical practice.
Improvements for Objective: I enjoy learning about nursing EBP and looking forward to contributing my own research.
Readiness and Goals for Next Semester
I am excited to enter the coming semester as a student nurse. I am confident in the skills I have mastered this semester and feel prepared to build on relatable concepts.
- Focus on the nursing role
- Enhance communication skills
- Practice assessment skills
Steps I Plan to Take to Meet the Goals
- I plan to continue learning the foundations of the nursing practice and to ask skilled nurses questions when I need clarification
- I will talk directly to nurses when giving reports and be aware of my nonverbal behaviours.
- I will pay attention to my professors’ lectures and tips on patient assessment skills and ask for help when I need clarification.
Overall, I have learned a lot this semester. This program has taught me that success comes from hard work, dedication, and time management. I am excited to see how the coming semester further induct me into the nursing profession.