HCAs: developing skills in
reflective writing
Janice Pearson is a senior lecturer on the Foundation Degree Programme at Birmingham City University

With the emergence of the assistant practitioner (AP) role, many
healthcare assistants (HCAs) now attend university in order to gain
academic qualifications, such as a foundation degree in health and
social care, to enhance their developing role. HCAs who may not
have previously studied within a higher education environment
may feel anxious at producing academic assignments, especially
those that need to demonstrate evidence of reflection. Reflective
writing differs from traditional academic writing and this article
will explore briefly the concept of reflection, the nature of the
HCA as an adult learner, characteristics of reflective writing and
two frameworks that support workers can use to demonstrate
reflection within their writing.
Key words
 Reflection      Adult learner      Reflective writing    
 Reflective frameworks


he role of the healthcare assistant (HCA) is
developing significantly, as a result of Department
of Health (2003) policy and a need to review
the clinical skill mix to address a potential shortfall of
registered nurses in the future (Royal College of Nursing,
2010). Some HCAs and support workers are undertaking
work-based learning programmes of higher education
in order to be able to develop their role as assistant
practitioners (APs) and take on skills previously within
the scope of the registered nurse (Skills for Health, 2009).
HCAs have been a key provider of patient care under
supervision for many years and are in an ideal position
to develop their knowledge and skills to become a more
reflective practitioner, in order to enhance patient care
(Skills for Health, 2009; Chapman and Law, 2009).
However, some may experience anxiety at the thought of
producing reflective assignments as there are differences
between reflective writing and traditional academic writing....