Nursing requires creativity and innovation and reflective writing helps develop these skills. Reflective essays that focus on clinical and medical experience can contribute knowledge to the discipline and help serve the greater good of humanity. Ideas for reflective essays start with reflective journal writing and guided reflections developed from clinical judgment models like Tanner’s Clinical Judgment Model, according to professors at the Oregon Health and Science University, School of Nursing.
Verbal ways of communicating with clients can focus on psychological and physiological factors. You could reflect on the therapeutic benefits of listening to patients stories and how this process helps them cope with the physical stress of treatment or the loneliness encountered by those who have few or no visitors. For example, stories may give clues to the spiritual health of the patient, which can inform the dialogue used with nursing procedures. Listening to personal stories can also lead to reflective writing that identifies how to enlist family members in caring in order to improve treatment.
Nonverbal communication can help establish empathy -- an essential component of the healing process. Reflective essays can focus on how a nurse’s body language such as posture, gesture, touch, facial expression and eye contact can establish rapport with patients. You could reflect on nonverbal communication from patients such as facial expressions and utterances to provide clues for evaluating or improving patient care. This type of communication is critical for clients who are impaired due to medication, surgery or developmental factors and provides an avenue for patient involvement that would otherwise not be possible.
Human Basic and Special Needs
Safety concerns and promoting comfort during exercise and activities such as eating, mouth care, bathing, sleeping, urinary and bowel elimination are important for clients with basic needs or special needs such as wound care or immobility issues. You could reflect on the timing of procedures such as handover, on the variation of safety protocols or how to best provide basic and special needs depending on the stage of client development. For instance, age groups such as the elderly, children, adolescents and teens may require different sleep and elimination patterns.
Cultural Diversity in Nursing
The psychological factors associated with diversity awareness influences healing. For example, some clients may be concerned about modesty during a physical examination, feel strong emotions about taking certain medications, or they may be emotionally challenged due to infections that have a social stigma. Connect diversity awareness to routine care such as health assessment, vital signs, fluid balances, physical examination, administering medications and infection control, and show how it helps patients cope or how it helps acquire information about folk remedies, ethnic nutritional regimes, religious requirements or personal food choices that may affect healing outcomes.
- Creative Nursing: Creativity and Innovation: Thought and Action
- The Journal of Nursing Education: Reflective Journaling for Clinical Judgment Development and Evaluation
- Journal of Nursing Education: Thinking Like a Nurse: A Research-Based Model of Clinical Judgment in Nursing
- Basic Nursing: Essentials for Practice; Patricia Potter, RN, MSN,Ph.d,GMAC and Anne Griffin Perry, RN, MSM, Ed.D., FANN
- Journal of Participatory Medicine: Nonverbal Interpersonal Interactions in Clinical Encounters and Patient Perceptions of Empathy
- KeIio University, Minato, Japan: Importance of Body Language in Nursing Communication
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: Patient Safety and Quality: An Evidence-Based Handbook for Nurses
A native of New Orleans, Amanda Petrona holds a Bachelor of Science in anthropology/social psychology and Master of Arts in English. She taught writing, research and literature at LSU Baton Rouge. Petrona founded Wild Spirit Louisiana, an organic farm, nature conservatory, and education center for sustainable and holistic living.