Schon reflective model in nursing

Schon Reflective Model in Nursing

The nursing journey encompasses learning various nursing theories and models, which become essential when practicing in real hospital settings. Donald Schon’s reflective model is one such theory that nurses should embrace. It focuses on professionals refining their skills through real-time problem-solving.

What is the Schon Reflective Model in Nursing?

Donald Schon, a theorist, introduced the Schon reflective model, which emphasizes that professionals, like artists, continuously perfect their skills during practice. They encounter situations that challenge their norms but apply real-time solutions to address them. The model consists of three dimensions:

1. Occurrence (the experience)
2. Mirroring (the art of reflecting)
3. Working (taking action after the reflection process)

Principles of Schon’s Reflective Model:

1. Reflection on Action (After an Experience):

Professionals evaluate and take action after an occurrence. They are expected to think quickly, devise remedies, and implement them based on the evaluation.

2. Reflection in Action (During the Situation):

Reflecting while in the midst of a crisis, professionals must quickly attend to the situation, think on their feet, make instant decisions, and implement them promptly.

Schon’s Reflection Model Insights:

1. Understanding the Unspoken:

This aspect revolves around grasping unknown knowledge or random discoveries without specific features to study.

2. Ladder Reflection Model:

Schon describes this model as a sequence of action, reflection, and further action, akin to climbing a ladder. Learners can ascend and descend to ensure the correct reflection process.

3. Learning in Action:

According to Schon, this type of knowledge is acquired while performing duties. It is observed in the skillful execution of tasks.

4. Reflection-in-Action (Real Time):

This model involves learning during the action itself. Nurses continuously learn as they practice in real healthcare settings, adapting quickly to changes.

5. Reflection-on-Action (After an Event):

Reflection in this model occurs after an event has taken place. It helps in recognizing the significance of in-action, particularly in emergency situations.

6. Practical Application at the Workplace:

Schon suggests that continuous learning through reflective actions is more effective than just imparting knowledge to learners.

7. Effective Attention:

This model examines students’ ability to implement new information and receive feedback based on their actions.

Evaluation of Schon’s Model:

Schon’s reflective model is valuable for nurses to understand occurrences in-depth, evaluate their strengths and weaknesses, and apply logic in their decisions based on research and past experiences.

Relevance of Schon’s Theories:

Schon’s theories remain relevant in nursing education, emphasizing quick thinking during emergencies. In practice, the model aids in improving treatments for communicable diseases and handling pandemic outbreaks.

Advantages of Schon’s Reflective Model:

1. Easy adoption in practice.
2. Promotes deeper learning and better problem-solving.
3. Helps practitioners handle new and challenging situations.

Pros and Cons of Schon’s Reflective Model:


1. Offers a structured approach to reflection.
2. Provides guidance and hints to students in difficult situations.
3. Encourages critical evaluation from multiple perspectives.
4. Enables students to gauge the success of their actions.
5. Enhances intuitive thinking, creativity, and quick decision-making.


1. Restricts deviation from the model’s rules.
2. May not be immediately applicable in real-life situations.
3. Not universally suitable for all scenarios.
4. Could pose challenges for slower learners.

Summary of Schon’s Reflective Model:

Donald Schon’s reflective model emphasizes continuous learning through real-time experiences and reflections. It focuses on quick thinking during action and thoughtful analysis after an event. The model assists professionals in making informed decisions based on research and past encounters.

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