Background The terms critical incident technique and reflection are widely used but often not fully explained, resulting in ambiguity. Purpose The aims of this review were to map and describe existing approaches to recording or using critical incidents and reflection in nursing and health professions literature over the last decade; identify challenges, facilitating factors, strengths, and weaknesses; and discuss relevance for nursing education. Methods A systematic narrative review was undertaken. MEDLINE and the Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature were searched using MeSH terms, returning 223 articles (2006-2017). After exclusions, 41 were reviewed. Results Articles were categorized into 3 areas: descriptions of the development of an original tool or model, critical incidents or reflection on events used as a learning tool, and personal reflections on critical incidents. Conclusions Benefits have been identified in all areas. More attention is needed to the pedagogy of reflection and the role of educators in reflection.