As a nurse, reflective practice is a vital part of my profession. I believe that without reflecting practice nurses would not be able to provide competent, safe and ethical care.
Nurses are responsible for providing care to the best of their ability to patients and their families. They need to focus on their knowledge, skills, attitudes and judgement to ensure that they are able to meet their responsibilities as regulated professionals.
Critical thinking is the method used in nursing practice to reflect on one's actions and attitudes. Unfortunately, because of the nature of the job, being stressful, demanding and task oriented, in many occasions it is forgotten to step back, analyze a situation, and reflect on it.
As a Nursing Practice Advisor, one of my goals when educating nursing students, is instilling the importance and value of reflection/critical thinking within their practice. Helping them become aware on how they interact with their clients, colleagues and the environment to obtain a clearer picture of their environment and own behaviour is part of my objectives.
Critical thinking is a process by which anybody can better understand themselves in specific situations, in order to be able to build on existing strengths and take appropriate future action.
I found this great explanatory video on reflective practice based on Donald Schon's theory.