Nursing requires creativity, and reflective writing helps in developing these skills. Nurses write reflective essays as part of their assignment. Reflective essays describe an experience or event, analyzes the meaning of experience and the lessons. An essay becomes reflective because a writer analyses a past event from the present.

Reflective essays require a writer to open up about emotions and thoughts to paint a real picture of their personality, individual traits, and history. They should carry a vivid summary and describe an experience in a manner that makes the reader feel like he experienced it. A reflective essay in nursing should focus on the clinical and medical expertise with the potential of contributing knowledge to their discipline as well as helping to serve a greater good to humanity.


Ideas for reflective essays start with guided reflections. Nurses listen to stories and experiences of patients then convert them into an essay. This kind of writing does not just rely on hearing, recording and writing about the incidents. A nurse must be conscious about experiences during training and practice. They should know how to identify the right metaphors when writing the essays.

Many subjects can fit into a thoughtful essay for nursing, but they should be something about the field or anything that created an interest in joining this profession. Some of the subjects to use for a reflective essay include:

  • An imagination
  • A real-life experience
  • Something from information got after reading, watching, touching, tasting, smelling or hearing
  • A place or special object


Organizing a reflective essay should be in a similar format of writing other types of essays. The layout below is a great outline for a nursing reflective essay.

Introduction/introductory paragraphThe first paragraph is the point to identify the subject and give readers a general overview of the impression it makes to the writer. An introductory paragraph should include a thesis statement that serves as a focal point of the paper. A reflective nursing essay is patient-centered. The writing should begin with a brief introduction to the first condition of a patient. The introduction of a reflective essay gives the writer freedom for describing the patient regarding age, illness and brief case history.

Example of a Thesis for a Reflective Essay for English Nursing“I was looking forward to a quiet moment after finishing my shift, but it was not going to happen. The elderly patient who came in the morning was having breathing difficulties. He had contracted pneumonia during a holiday trip. I quickly called our supervisor about the patient’s condition before rushing to the bedside to check on him while waiting for the doctor to rush in.”

Writing the Body of a Reflective Essay for English NursingThe first of body paragraphs should start with explaining the reason why the subject in the essay made a significant impression. A follow up to the first statement the first paragraph should be the “why.” A reflective essay allows speculation hence there is no right or wrong answer. Other reasons are for the subject to make an impression to the writer should follow up the first. The next paragraph can explain the condition and feelings that the nurse observed on a patient such as the physical state. A writer can also make some assumptions about the patient after an evaluation and might note any doubts. The last paragraph should present the most important lesson for the writer after an experience with the patient.

Writing the Conclusion of a Reflective Essay for English NursingA reflective essay for nursing should end with the reflections got during interaction with a patient. It recaps the thesis statement and reasons in the body of the essay but a few concise words. A nurse might also include a view on the future care that the patient requires before summing up the article with the final thoughts on the subject and closing reflective thoughts.

A reflective essay for English nursing should be in the first person narrative to make it personal and is better in chronological approach.

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