How to Write a Reflective Essay for English Nursing

Updated July 20, 2017

Communication is important in any field, but especially in nursing where the accurate relay of information between colleagues can literally be the difference between life and death. Consequently, nurses must be able to marshal their emotions in times of stress while maintaining empathy for their patients. One of the purposes of a English nursing self-reflective essay is to cultivate this skill.

A highly subjective assignment, the self-reflective essay isn't merely fact recitation, but rather an explanation of your feelings on a particular topic. If argued and explained well, you cannot go wrong. So relax and get writing.

Review the assignment directions and essay subject matter. Depending on the assignment, this may involve reading and rereading a book or article, or reviewing class notes and visual aids.

Recall in-class discussions on the topic and jot down some notes about your reactions to the information. Do not try to begin writing a cogent essay immediately. Simply work to get your reactions and emotions down on paper. Write in the first-person.

Begin assembling your notes in outline form. An outline contains three basic elements: the introduction, the body, and the conclusion. The introduction features your thesis or argument, the body contains the supporting details, and the conclusion summarises the essay's main points.

Analyse the outline for logical flow and to catch any omissions. Check that the thesis is supported by the essay body points. Adjust or rewrite it if necessary.

Introduce the subject you wish to discuss, then explain what you're going to say and why. This may include certain facts or background information needed to bring the audience up to speed. Don't get too detailed here.

Support your argument in the body of the essay. In this case, this is your personal reaction to the topic. Include stories and events from your personal or professional experience that help explain your feelings. For nurses, self-reflective essays often relate to why and when you decided to become a nurse, who your inspiration is, or what you hope to accomplish, or have accomplished, in the field. Always relate the information in the body to your introductory thesis.

Summarise your argument in the conclusion. Include your final thoughts on the topic, relating them back to the information in the body and the thesis. Do not introduce new ideas. If you have more to say, work it into the body.

Edit and make any necessary rewrites. Have a skilled writer edit your essay. All writers need an editor to ensure their arguments are explained clearly, factually and concisely.


Take your time. Do multiple drafts, taking breaks in between. This allows you to organise your thoughts with a fresh eye.

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About the Author

David Clark has been a professional writer since 2007. After working as a full-time technical writer for an architectural and engineering firm, he began freelancing for various print and online media such as "The Writer Magazine." He graduated from the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh with a Bachelor of Arts in English.