What is a Reflective Account?

What is a reflective account?

The word reflective or reflection is derived from the word reflect. The Oxford dictionary meaning of reflect is “to think carefully and deeply about something”. The word “reflective” is an adjective used to describe the kind of report or writing you are required to submit for your Diploma. Therefore a reflective account can be understood as a real or true story of how you have carried out an activity at work or an action you took in the past and why you took the action.

For example if you were to go a tennis match and we asked you to write a reflective account about it, you would consider the following:

What was the day like?
When did the day start and finish?
How did you get to the match?
What did you do at the match?

You would write something like “I went to a tennis match on Sunday. I went to watch it with a couple of friends. We all went in my car as it was raining all day. “

The style of writing is past tense. This is the same way you need to write your reflective account for your Diploma, care certificate or other learning. It is though very important you ensure you understand exactly what your assessor wants you to include in your reflective account. If you are unsure, ask them.

Reflective accounts usually are about:

  • What you did
  • How you did it
  • How you felt
  • Why you did it
  • When you did it
  • What was a success
  • What didnt work so well
  • What you could change
  • Who you did it with

Reflective Account Examples

There are lots of different example of reflective accounts they  can be produced online or in handwritten form.

We recommended the following steps to take when writing a reflective account:

  • ‘Title’ – Starting point for most types of work
  • ‘Date’ – Using the date helps put into perspective the Reflective account
  • ‘What was the nature of the activity/practice-related account?’ – You can use this to set the scene and explain what happened or what you attended etc.
  • ‘What did you learn from the activity and/or feedback?’ – Explain in first-person terms what you learnt and how you reflect on what you learnt.
  • ‘Did you change or improve your work as a result?’ – Use both positive and negative reflective account examples to who how your work has changed, improved as a result – try to avoid emotion.
  • ‘How is this relevant to the Code?’ – Explain how your experience relates to the Code. Prioritise people, practice effectively, preserve safety, promote professionalism and trust. This doesn’t need to be an essay. Your reflective account could relate to all four or just the one, but it’s important to explain how. 
Specific examples could include:

Recognising that you could improve:

“To avoid similar situations, I will ensure that I always double-check the drug administration documentation before I issue the prescription to the patient.”

Observing a positive action of your own:

“In this situation, I believe that I followed the nursing Code and correctly administrated the right prescription drug. I will continue to practice at this standard.”

Some great tips for writing reflective accounts

Keep the outcome in form of you when you write your account
Introduce the date of the event and related evidence
Introduce your reflective account by giving a brief description and set the scene

Finally, these tips will help you with your reflective account:

Always use the first person e,g, I …………, as the account is about what you did. And always remember to sign and date your reflective account. Dont forget that the the event you are writing about must be current, as your assessor might decide to ask to see relevant documentation to – check dates etc. Refer to laws, legislation, minimum care standards, policies and procedures that effect the way in which you work

Wikipedia has some great insight into writing in this style. Find out more here

If you need some help with writing for Health and Social Care you could take our short course free here

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