Rolfe Reflective Model
Assignment Writing

Rolfe Reflective Model – Rolfe et al.’s (2001) reflective model

Our minds seem simple on the outside, but inside, they’re like a giant puzzle. Thinkers like Kurt Lewin and Jean Piaget tried to explain how it works, and different models have been created. Today, we’ll explore Rolfe’s reflective model, step-by-step, to see how it helps us learn and grow, especially in nursing. Buckle up; it’s time to dive into the fantastic world of our minds.

What Is A Rolfe Reflective Model

Thinking deeply can be tricky. However, there are different ways to do it, like different hiking paths. But today, we’re exploring the Rolfe reflective model, which is used in nursing, care, and education. 

Five Effective Benefits Of Rolfe Reflective Model

Thinking Deeply Matters

Rolfe reflective model isn’t just good for self-reflection; moreover, it helps you learn better, too! However, students can use it daily to improve, especially in nursing. 

Think of it like a detective tool:

Analyse patient cases: Determine what went well and what could be better.

Understand health and safety: Reflect on situations to keep yourself and others safe, like children.

By asking deep questions and learning from experiences, Rolfe reflective model helps you become a better student and, in the case of nursing, a better caregiver.

The Perks: 

Track your progress: Determine how far you’ve come and what you still need to work on.

Boost your motivation: When you’re feeling down, this allows you to find inspiration within yourself.

Stay focused on learning: Determine what is holding you back and how to continue moving forward.

Handle difficult situations: Practise different scenarios to be ready for anything.

Be creative: Consider new approaches to problem-solving and process improvement.

Help everyone around you: Learning and growing benefits your own life, the lives of others, and even nursing patients.

Determining The Rolfe Reflective Model In Nursing Section

Nurses are super busy, continuously checking things off their lists. But sometimes, thinking deeply can be like hitting the “turbo button” for their careers.

Imagine a nurse using Rolfe’s model:

Solving patient puzzles: Like detectives, they use reflection to figure out what’s making a patient sick. Moreover, why one treatment worked on one patient but not another, and how to give the best care.

Learning from every case: Every patient is different, so reflecting helps nurses learn from each experience and become better caregivers.

Growing as a nurse: By thinking deeply about their work, nurses can identify areas to improve and become even more awesome.

Advantages & Disadvantages Of the Rolfe Reflective Model 

Like a coin, there are two sides to everything in life, including the Rolfe reflective model, which has good and bad points. However, this model is unique and different from other models like Driscoll’s or the ERA cycle. Here’s a list of the good and bad points of Rolfe’s model. Let’s check them out and see if this model works for you.


Easy to Follow: Imagine a clear roadmap for reflection. That’s what Rolfe’s model offers with just three key questions: “What?”, “So What?” and “Now What?”. Making it perfect for anyone, no matter their experience level.

Digging Deeper: The model is about more than just remembering what happened. However, it encourages nurses to think critically, asking themselves: “What did I do?” “How did I feel?” and “How did it impact others?”. This deeper reflection leads to…

Better Learning: By looking back at past experiences, nurses can identify areas where they can improve their skills and become even better caregivers. Moreover, it’s like learning from mistakes in a safe space!

Knowing Themselves: This model helps nurses understand their strengths, weaknesses, and even personal biases. Moreover, this self-awareness leads to better decisions and, ultimately, better patient care.

Taking Responsibility: Reflecting makes nurses feel more accountable for their actions. Moreover, it’s like saying, “I own what I did, and I’ll learn from it.”

Flexible Friends: Rolfe’s model can be used for various reflections, including a single patient encounter, a team meeting, and a more considerable career experience. It is a versatile tool!


Oversimplification: The three-stage structure may not capture the complexity of all situations and could lead to superficial reflection.

Requires time and effort: Implementing the model effectively requires dedicated time and effort, which can be challenging in busy healthcare environments.

Subjectivity: The interpretation of experiences and the “correct” course of action can be subjective, leading to inconsistencies in reflection.

Limited focus on emotions: The model primarily focuses on cognitive aspects of reflection and may not adequately address the emotional impact of experiences.

Potentially intimidating: The formal structure and potential for judgment can be intimidating for some learners, hindering their willingness to engage in reflection.

Not always applicable to all fields: The model was developed specifically for nursing and may not be easily adapted to other healthcare professions.

The Vital Role Of the Rolfe Reflective Model

In the busy world of nursing, taking a moment to think deeply can be like hitting a “superpower button” for your career! That’s where the Rolfe reflective model comes in. Moreover, imagine it as a unique tool with three simple questions: “What happened?”, “What does it mean?”, and “What will I do differently next time?”.

These questions unlock powerful learning. Which is by reflecting on past experiences with patients, nurses can become detectives, figuring out what made someone sick, why one treatment worked for one person but not another, and how to give the best care possible. However, it’s like learning from every case and becoming an even better caregiver.

But it’s not just about patients. Reflecting helps nurses understand their strengths, weaknesses, and even hidden biases. However, this “self-awareness superpower” leads to better decisions and, ultimately, happier, healthier patients. Moreover, the next time a nurse feels swamped, remind them that taking a moment to reflect can be a powerful tool for growth and success.

Referencing Rolfe et al.’s Reflective Model

Giving Credit Where It’s Due: How to Reference Rolfe et al.

Remember that cool Rolfe reflection model we talked about? However, if you use it in your work, you must credit its creators: Rolfe, Freshwater, and Jasper. Don’t worry, it’s easy! Here’s what you need to do:

Author Names: Start with their last names and initials, like this: “Rolfe, G., Freshwater, D., & Jasper, M.”

Publication Year: Put the year they published the model in parentheses, like this: “(2001)”.

Model Title: Write the book title or article where they presented the model, underlined or in italics. 

For example, “Critical reflection in healthcare professional education: A theoretical framework.”

Source Information: Add the journal’s name (if it’s an article) or the publisher (if it’s a book). For example, “Medical Education.”

More Details: If it’s an article, include the issue number, volume, and page numbers. For example, “35(3), 234-240.”

Putting It All Together:

Here’s an example of a complete reference:

Rolfe, G., Freshwater, D., & Jasper, M. (2001). Critical reflection in healthcare professional education: A theoretical framework. Medical Education, 35(3), 234-240.

The Story Behind The Model: Exploring The Origins Of Rolfe’s Reflection

Reflection, like a well-worn map, can guide us through the twists and turns of our experiences. But where did this powerful tool, Rolfe’s reflective model, come from? Buckle up as we embark on a journey to its origins!

The Early Days: A Quest for Understanding

In the early 20th century, thinkers like John Dewey began exploring how the human mind works. However, they realised reflection was crucial for learning and growth, but capturing its essence took time. Moreover, different models emerged, each with their strengths and weaknesses.

Enter Rolfe, Freshwater, and Jasper:

Fast forward to the year 2001. Three researchers, Graham Rolfe, Donna Freshwater, and Malcolm Jasper, were working in the field of education and healthcare. Moreover, they saw the need for a simple yet effective tool for reflection, especially for nurses.

Building on the Past, Creating Something New:

Inspired by existing models but are aware of their limitations, Rolfe, Freshwater, and Jasper aimed for clarity and accessibility. They crafted a model with three core questions: What? So What? Now What?

This straightforward approach resonated with nurses and other healthcare professionals. Moreover, the model’s simplicity made it easy to understand and apply, regardless of experience level.

From Education to Healthcare and Beyond:

Initially designed for nursing education, Rolfe’s model quickly spread to other healthcare fields. Because of its versatility allowed professionals to use it for individual patient encounters, team interactions, and even broader career reflections.

The Legacy Continues:

Today, the Rolfe reflective model remains a popular and respected tool for reflection. It’s a reminder that taking a moment to pause, think, and learn from our experiences can be transformative for us and those we care for.

How Rolfe’s Model Makes a Difference In The Nursing Section

Think about being a nurse. You’re busy all day with patients, tasks, and choices. It’s a hectic job, understandably so. So, taking time to think might feel like an extra thing you don’t have time for. But hold on! What if I said that this thinking time, when done correctly, can be a real game-changer for nurses? This is where Rolfe’s model steps in. 

It helps nurses grow and improve their care for patients. However, even in the middle of a busy day, taking a moment to reflect isn’t just a break – it’s a step towards becoming a better nurse.

Why Nurses and Reflection are a Perfect Match:

Nurses deal with complex situations every day. From the intricacies of each patient’s case to the emotional roller coaster of their jobs, reflection provides a safe space to unpack these experiences. Moreover, it’s like a mental pause button, allowing them to:

Analyse what happened: Think critically about their actions, decisions, and the impact they had on patients, families, and even themselves.

Learn from mistakes: No one is perfect, and reflection helps nurses identify areas for improvement, turning setbacks into stepping stones.

Boost self-awareness: By understanding their strengths, weaknesses, and even potential biases, nurses can make more informed decisions and build stronger connections with patients.

Become accountable: Reflection fosters a sense of ownership for actions, encouraging nurses to take responsibility and strive for continuous improvement.

Rolfe’s Model: A Simple Tool, Big Impact:

Now, entering Rolfe’s model. However, this handy tool provides a structured approach to reflection with just three key questions:

What happened? This sets the stage by recalling the specific situation.

So what does it mean? Here, nurses delve deeper, analysing the impact and underlying factors.

Now, what will I do differently? However, learning takes root in this action-oriented phase as nurses plan for future encounters.

The simplicity of these questions makes the model accessible to all nurses, regardless of experience. Moreover, it’s like a user-friendly map guiding them through the reflection journey.

Beyond the Basics: Where the Model Shines:

While simple, Rolfe’s model packs a punch in various nursing situations:

Individual patient encounters: Reflecting on a challenging case helps nurses understand their approach, identify areas for improvement, and ultimately provide better care in the future.

Team interactions: Reflecting on teamwork dynamics helps build trust, address communication gaps, and create a more collaborative environment.

Broader career experiences: Reflecting on leadership roles, professional development opportunities, or even ethical dilemmas allows nurses to grow personally and professionally.

A Thorough Guide On Utilising The Rolfe’s Reflective Model

Imagine yourself a detective, not of crime scenes, but of your experiences! That’s what Rolfe’s model helps you do. Moreover, let’s explore how to use this simple yet powerful tool for reflection:

Step 1: Set the Stage:

Choose a situation: Pick an experience from your nursing practice you want to reflect on. Apparently, it could be a challenging case, a team interaction, or anything that sparked your interest.

Find a quiet space: Reflection thrives in peace, so grab a moment away from the hustle and bustle.

Step 2: Ask the Key Questions:

“What happened?” Recall the facts of the situation. Who was involved? Type actions were taken? What was the outcome? However, be specific and detailed.

“So what does it mean?” Analyse the more profound meaning. Moreover, what were your thoughts and feelings during the experience? What impact did your actions have on others? Consider different perspectives and underlying factors.

“Now, what will I do differently?” This is the learning phase! Based on your analysis, identify areas for improvement. However, what could you have done differently? What will you do next time to achieve a better outcome?

Step 3: Write It Down:

This isn’t a test. Jot down your thoughts and feelings freely. However, writing can help you clarify your thinking and identify patterns.

Step 4: Reflect on Your Reflection:

Take a moment to review your thoughts. Did you gain new insights? Are there additional questions you want to explore?

Evaluation Of the Rolfe Reflective Model

While Rolfe’s model shines for its simplicity and accessibility, it’s not perfect. However, like a trusty map, it can guide you, but its simplicity might only capture the complexity of some situations. Moreover, it can sometimes lead to surface-level reflection, especially for experienced nurses who crave deeper analysis. 

Additionally, dedicating time for reflection can be challenging in fast-paced healthcare environments. Remember, reflection is subjective too, so interpreting experiences and identifying the “correct” course of action can vary, leading to inconsistencies. However, don’t let these limitations dim its potential.

Despite its imperfections, Rolfe’s model remains a valuable tool. Moreover, its adaptability allows you to use it in diverse situations, from individual patient encounters to broader career reflections. However, its focus on learning and improvement makes it a powerful driver for growth.

So, remember, Rolfe’s model might not be the ultimate answer, but it’s a great starting point on your journey of self-reflection and professional development.


In the whirlwind of healthcare, taking a moment to reflect can seem like a luxury. But remember, Rolfe’s model isn’t just a fancy tool; it’s a superpower in disguise. However, by asking those simple questions – “What?”, “So What?”, and “Now What?” you unlock a world of learning, growth, and ultimately, better patient care.