Crtitical Incident

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A reflective account of an incident in practice related
to the code of professional conduct
The purpose of this essay is to critically examine an incident from recent practice whilst using a model of reflection. This will enable me to analyse and make sense of the incident and draw conclusions concerning personal learning outcomes. The meaning of critical analysis and critical incidents will briefly be discussed followed by the process of reflection. The incident will then be described and analysed and then I will discuss issues raised in light of the recent literature relating to the incident. I will conclude with explaining what I have learned from the experience and how it will change my future actions.

Critical analysis involves assessing the differences, beliefs, benefits and disadvantages of a situation. (Polit and Hungler 1999). Burns and Bulman (2000) express that it is an important skill in professional practice and academic work. Engaging in critical analysis is a positive and constructive process as it identifies any strengths and weaknesses. (Girot 2001)

Burns & Bulman (2000) described critical incidents, as incidents that have had an emotional impact on individuals whereby the incident may be a positive or negative one. They are a means of examining significant incidents or situations in the practice area and they encourage individuals to look back and learn from the particular incident. (Girot 2001).

Reflection is a process of profound thought relating to an experience or situation whereby the experience is explored through feelings and reasoning. (Cadman et al 2003). The Nursing and Midwifery Council (2003) highlight the importance of reflection in nursing practice and state that it is the process of enhancing personal and professional learning that assists in developing nursing knowledge. It can be viewed a useful tool in developing the skill of critical thinking and can be used to link theory and practice. (Kenworthy et al 2002).

Health professionals can use reflection to manage and deal with moral, ethical conflict and other difficult issues. (Wilkinson 2001). Marks-Maran and Rose (1997) view reflection as an activity to develop personal, practical and intuitive knowledge. The quality of patient care can be enhanced by reflection and it helps to develop the self-awareness and professional practice of the nurse. (Wolverson 2000).

This reflection identifies what I have learnt about the second shared value from the NMC code of professional conduct: “You must respect the patient/client as an individual, ensuring that you promote and protect their interests and dignity irrespective of cultural and religious beliefs” (NMC 2004). I will make reference to one incident that I have experienced in practice using the reflective framework adapted from Gibbs (1988). Confidentiality will be maintained at all times.

During my placement I helped to care for a long term oncology patient, admitted with his family in which mum was incredibly competent in caring for her child, as well as being happy and respondent towards the nursing staff on arrival. The family were settled into a room with another family of the same religion, but immediately they closed the curtains surrounding their bed. The curtains remained closed for the remainder of the day, and the behaviour was attributed to the anxieties of the family for their child. The situation over the following days remained the same, and many of the nurses began to spontaneously open the curtains. This caused an imminent change in the family’s behaviour with them becoming increasingly more anxious and very unresponsive towards myself and the nursing staff, a large contrast to their mentality on arrival. This prompted me to speak to mum to discover how she was feeling. She explained that she felt very uncomfortable sharing a room with ‘that’ family due to her cultural beliefs within their shared religion of Hinduism. The curtains remained in situ for...
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