Changing Times – A Time to Reflect

Well it is the start of a New Year, and for many it is a time to reflect, evaluate work/life and embrace new opportunities. Reflection and the capacity for reflexivity are central to nursing practice because they inform clinical decisions leading to improvements in care and patient outcomes. Reflection is associated with developing nursing competence and coping with the stressors associated with contemporary practice.

When people refer to reflection they are often evaluating or critically appraising their experience of an event in retrospect (Johns, 2017). In contrast reflexivity is the processes of bringing forward and accounting for preconceived assumptions (Freshwater & Rolfe 2001). Reflexivity and reflection are intrinsically linked to developing professional practice because the actions, decisions and personal beliefs of the practitioner impact on the way they deliver care and make meaningful therapeutic relationships. Reflection is the process of evaluating practice, and requires a commitment to enhancing practice, a curiosity that questions practice, and being responsive to new ideas (Howatson-Jones, 2016; Johns, 2017). Becoming a reflexive practitioner requires the ability to critically reflect on personal values and preconceptions, often held subconsciously, that may impact, often negatively, on the care delivered to individuals and their families.

My time as Associate Editor at Evidence-Based Nursing is drawing to an end, prompting my reflective mood. I have thoroughly enjoyed meeting new people, sharing experiences, debating nursing issues, engaging with the EBN readership and gaining an understanding of editorial process. However, the role has completely changed my view of the value and potential of Social Media in healthcare.  In its broadest context Social Media can be thought of as the interactions that take place within virtual communities as a means of sharing information, ideas, personal messages, images, and developing networks and collaborations (Smith & Milnes, 2016). While engaging in a range of Social Media activities as part on my role as Associate Editor from blogging, to twitter chats developed many technical skills but it was an appreciation of the way Social Media can be used to have conversations across boundaries and disciplines and engage in debate in a way that can reach professionals and the public alike that had the most impact. Social media tools and platforms are embedded in society and can be embraced to broaden horizons, learn and connect with patients, students, colleagues, and develop potential research collaborations (Huby &Smith, 2016). I hope to work with many of you, and stay connected, through EBN Social Media activities in the future.


Freshwater, D., Rolfe, G. (2001) Critical reflexivity: a politically and ethically engaged research method for nursing. Nursing Times Research6: 526-537

Howatson-Jones, L. (2016) Reflective practice. Sage, London.

Huby, K.,Smith, J. (2016) Relevance of social media to nurses and healthcare: ‘to tweet or not to tweet’. Evidence Based Nursing, 19 (4), 105-106;

Johns, C. (2017) Becoming a Reflective Practitioner, 5thedition. John Wiley & Sons, Chichester .

Smith, J., Milnes, LJ. (2016) Social media: the relevance for research. Evidence Based Nursing, 19 (4), 99-100.

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