Nursing Reflection ‘Gibbs’ Essay 1000 words

To further the aims of this assignment, the author will, in the paragraphs below, define reflection and compare and contrast two reflective models.

One clear definition of reflection is that it is a proven process that,

Helps you look back at your experience and determine what you learnt, what knowledge you were applying and what you do not understand. This helps you identify learning needs to enable you to perform better in the future.’ (Brooker and Nicol, 2003).


Thus Reflection cannot be simply a phenomena attributed to random thinking alone. ‘Reflection is thinking for a purpose’ (The Open University (2009).


From a nursing perspective, reflective practice is encouraged and used in everyday scenarios. Student nurses have reflection as a learning process within their routine training and are often required to utilise given models or frameworks to measure their incidents and assess their feelings. This allows them to look back and see where and how they could approach things differently if at all, if the situation arose again. Reaffirmation, or new knowledge, could be learnt to deal with these given situations (Brooker and Nicol, 2003:15). Two such Models are the Gibbs model of reflection (Gibb’s 1998) and the Boud’s model of reflection (Boud, Keogh & Walker, 1985). Both models show similarities and dissimilarities, which will now be concisely explored below.


Briefly, the Gibbs model of reflection poses the following six questions:

  1. Description –           What Happened?
  2. Feelings –           What are you feeling and thinking?
  3. Evaluation –           What was good and bad about the experience?
  4. Analysis –           What sense can you make of the situation?
  5. Conclusion –           What else could you have done?                                           
  6. Action – If it arose again what would you do? ”

(Gibbs (1998) cited by Brooker and Nicol, 2003, p. 16)


It is evident from a perusal of questions 1 & 2 above that Gibbs does not provide an absolute framework of reference for determining what was good versus what was bad about the experience. The same can be said to some extent for questions 4, 5 and 6. For the most part, the six questions with in the Gibbs Model recommend reliance on memory of ‘feeling’ or ‘thinking’. However ‘thinking’ and ‘feeling’ are opposite prepossessions. Logically, the individual will lean towards one more dominantly than the other. (My Personality (2009))


Boud’s Model ‘explains that as an individual encounters an experience, so he or she responds. The reflective process is initiated when the individual returns to the experience, recollecting what has taken place and replaying the experience. Then re-evaluation takes place.’ (Boud et al, 1985 cited by Kember et al, 2001)


Kember et al (2001:22) goes on to cite four elements in the process of re-evaluation based on the mechanics of Boud’s model.


  1. “Association – relating new data to that which is already known,
  2. Integration – seeking relationships among the data.
  3. Validation – determining the authenticity of the ideas and the feelings, which have resulted.
  4. Appropriation – making knowledge one’s own.” (Kember et al 2001, p. 22)


The term “data” implies statistical recording of information, however qualitative methods, meaning volumes of abundant deep data capture, emphasise the value of experience of real life situations. In nursing this is helpful, as many incidents cannot use statistical analysis (Hewitt-Taylor, 2001:39). Therefore elements 1 and 2 suggest ideas and situations being updated; 3 and 4 on the contrary suggest a formal frame of reference which determines the realness of the ideas/situations for the purpose of gaining factual knowledge.


From the above statements and deduction, the models depict the following similarities and differences.







Both models aim to improve and further the individual’s learning and knowledge.

Their steps are both structured and interrelated.

Both models take the feelings and the personal ideas of the individual into consideration.

They both respect the individual’s way of thinking.

Once the process of reflection has been completed they are both forward looking.




Boud et al’s model is largely formal and Gibb’s is mostly informal

Boud et al’s model leans towards objectivity and Gibbs towards subjectivity.

Boud at al’s model recommends formal verification of ideas and feelings and Gibb’s does not.

Gibbs model accentuates the individual’s feelings and Boud at al emphasises the individual’s thinking.

Boud et al’s model leans towards to reflection – in – action

Gibb’s model leans towards reflection – on – action





In conclusion, this essay has defined reflection as a process that looks back on experiences to determine what was learnt, and identifies further needs to enable an enhanced performance in the future. The two models compared and contrasted were the Boud and Gibbs Models. Both models are typically used and reacted to in everyday nursing and teaching/scenarios. They share the aspiration to further the individual’s learning and knowledge. It was found that they differ in that the Gibbs’ model is more informal than Boud’s more formal approach. They both, however, reach the same conclusion: that reflection is powerful in lifelong learning and on-the-job practices, and remains an essential component of good practice in the nursing field.









References find at least 3 more academic references if you wish to use 10 – if not, then please leave as it is. You need page numbers for the Bouds and Gibbs quotes and also to give the source of these quotations here [I believe you and not the writer added these quotes]. Otherwise, do not put them as direct quotes but as summary of Boud’s and Gibb’s theories.

Boud et al (XXXX) Please locate this if possible

Gibbs (XXX) Please Locate this

Brooker, C, Nicol, M (2003) Nursing Adults – The practice of caring. Edinburgh, Mosby.

Kember, D, et al (2001) Reflective teaching and learning in the health professions. Oxford, Blackwell Science Ltd.

Hewitt-Taylor, J. (2001) Use of constant comparative analysis in qualitative research. Nursing Standard,15 (42), 39.

My (2009) Thinking or Feeling Preference. [online] Available from[Accessed 12th March 2009].

The Open University (2009) What is reflection? – Learning how to learn..[online] available from [Accessed 12th March 2009].