Critical Incident Techniques and Reflection in Nursing and Health Professions Education: a systematic narrative review

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


  • Alison Steven
  • Gemma Wilson
  • Hannele Turunen
  • M. Flores Vizcaya-Moreno
  • Mina Azimirad
  • Jayden Khakurel
  • Jari Porras
  • Susanna Tella
  • Rosa Pérez-Cañaveras
  • Loredana Sasso
  • Giuseppe Aleo
  • Kristin Myhre
  • Øystein Ringstad
  • Arja Sara-Aho
  • Margaret Scott
  • Pauline Pearson

External departments

  • University of Eastern Finland
  • Copenhagen Centre for Health Technology
  • Lappeenranta University of Technology
  • Saimaa University of Applied Sciences
  • University of Alicante
  • University of Genoa
  • Østfold University College
  • Northumbria University


Original languageEnglish
JournalNurse Educator
Early online date14 Jan 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 14 Jan 2020
Publication type

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background: The terms Critical Incident Technique (CIT) and Reflection are widely used but often not fully explained, resulting in ambiguity.
Purpose: To map and describe existing approaches to recording or using critical incidents and reflection in nursing and health professions literature over the last decade, identifying challenges and facilitating factors, strengths and weaknesses and discussing relevance for nursing education.
Methods: A systematic narrative review was undertaken. Medline and CINAHL were searched using MeSH terms, returning 223 papers (2006-17). After exclusions, 41 were reviewed.
Results: Papers were categorised into three areas: those describing the development of an original tool or model, those where critical incidents or events were used as learning tools, and personal reflections on 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.