Gibbs’ Reflective Cycle: Examples of Reflective Writing for Nurses

Reflective writing is one of the most effective ways to build critical thinking capabilities. This helps us understand why we have to take a quick action in a certain situation. In this way, we learn how to document occurrence of an incident during initial stages of our professional career.  Besides, it establishes a connection between two different segments of our professional life (1) theory which we learn by reading and (2) practical what we learn by getting practical experience in an actual working environment.

How Someone Can Write Reflectively?

Like every type of writing, on must know the basic principle of every methodology. So in case of reflective writing, a writer can choose from at least four popular models which are as follow:

  • 1970 – Reflective Framework by Borton
  • 1984 – Reflective Learning by Kolb
  • 1988 – Reflective Cycle by Gibb’s
  • 2004 – Structured Reflection by John

In this article, we will provide an example & structure of reflective writing for nurses using Gibbs Reflective Cycle.

Example & Features of Reflective Writing


While I was in second year of nursing studies, I was appointed in a general ward under the supervisor of senior nurses and doctors. I was with a young female patient when a doctor-on-duty visited and instructed my mentor to change drip of the patient. I immediately followed my mentor’s instruction and changed the drip. Meanwhile, doctor got busy with another patient.

I started looking at a group of female students from a nearby medical university who were standing near a patient in bed. The patient was crying due to severe pain in his body and unintentionally, he moved his leg which slightly hit a student. The student’s response was absolutely unacceptable as she pushed away his leg with extreme dude. The patient who was already in great pain started shouting so badly that all the other patients, doctors and visitors had to turn their head toward him. The situation seems almost moving out of hands and the doctors immediately rushed to the patient and tried to calm him down.

Nobody knew what actually happened as everyone was busy. At the time, I thought to tell the doctors what actually happened, however, there was no time to create a scene because the situation was already gone out of control. Somehow, doctors were able to manage the situation.


I was really shocked to see the behavior of the student who should not be behaving like this with a patient. Though, I thought to talk to the student that she should never be so rude with the patients, Unfortunately, I couldn’t say a word. At that time, I decided not to embarrass the student right in front of so many other people.

Later I told everything about this incident to my senior who advised me to bring it into the notice of doctors. We went to the doctors and told them everything. They were quite angry about the behavior of the student. In fact, they decided to complain to disciplinary committee so no such incident could happen in future again.


I found the incident quite shocking and I regretted why I did not scold the student when she came up with an extremely rude reaction. However, I was quite satisfied that I brought it into the notice of my mentor and senior doctors. Later the same group of students visited again but they were given very strict warning for no such act. From this incident, I learnt that it is never too late to bring such incidents into notice of the disciplinary committee. I also learnt that it is my first priority to protect my patients at any cost.


According to American Mobile (an AMN Healthcare company), there are various ways to show respect for the patients especially in critical conditions. Every nurse and doctor must treat all the patients with equality and understand their problems and prospective.

A basic principle of nursing is that every patient as well as his family members should be given respect. Additionally, as an important part of medical team, it is the responsibility of a nurse to create an environment where best possible treatment and care can be given to the patients.

When I think about that unfortunate incident, I am very clear that I must have taken a quick action to prevent such incidents. Now I can realize that my courage to bring the incident into the notice of the doctors has changed a lot of things. After this unpleasant incident, I noticed that I really needed to improve my confidence level to face people for the sake of patients. I also understand that every member of medical team is an important part of it and must act to reduce risks for the patients.