A Crucial Role of Critical Reflection in Nursing Practice

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Within this essay I am going to demonstrate why critical reflection is essential to nursing associates. Paterson, C. (2013) concludes that critical reflection will help provide a bridge between theory and practice and is a vital part of learning from experience and central to developing and maintaining across a practitioners lifetime The area of practice I will be focusing on will be the assessment of growth in infants. This is a skill I carry out many times a day in a child health clinic (CHC) and feel I am confident in doing so.

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Nevertheless, being in a position at the Child health clinic, where a parent came in to routinely review her child’s weight, led to me having to explain to the parent that their child's weight had decreased. This routine weight review turned into daunting experience and raised the parent’s anxiety. Seeing how concerned the parent was I tried to reassure her to the best of my ability. I completed a growth assessment, looking at the infant’s weight, height and head circumference and recorded them on percentile chart in the child's personal health record (Red book). I had a discussion with the parent to ensure the child is having adequate nutritional intake for their needs and advised to attend in CHC in 2 weeks to monitor growth. This led me to critically reflect on my practice, I found that Monitoring of growth is important as this could lead to early recognition of growth disorder.

Before carrying out this self- assessment I was unaware of the significance critical reflection would have within my nursing associate role. However without fully realising I have always been reflective, asking myself many questions, did I give the correct advice? What more could I of done? Could I of said anything differently? and always seeking advice from the practitioner in charge. Therefore I felt that it was hard to identify gaps in my knowledge. Only because I felt that I had learned so much from experienced practitioners who had been in the role for many a years. During the situation at the CHC I knew I had to follow monitoring growth from the document “The healthy child programme”. The healthy child programme aims to bring together health, education and other main partners to deliver an effective programme for prevention and support.

Since carrying out a self-assessment I have greatly sharpened my critical analysis skills and it has widened my knowledge immensely. It has helped me to make sense of personal challenges I encounter and enables me to improve on my decision making skills. By critically reflecting I have identified some weaknesses in my practice, I am now able to learn from my experiences, developing critical thinking, enabling integration of theory practice and the generation of knowledge in practice.

Evaluation role in monitoring growth ; not only taking a weight and plotting it on a graph but understanding expected growth rates and recognising deviations in this growth and possible causes for this. An explanation and practical demonstration was given on the use of relevant equipment. As per Quinn and Hughes (2007) a variety of tools were used to enhance the assessment validity ensuring that the learning was evidence based including; UK-WHO growth chart guidance (2014), The Healthy Child Programme (DOH, 2009) and trust policies relating to growth, infection control and safeguarding children.

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