Assessment of the older person – Reflective essay
Assessment 3: Reflective essay
2500 words ± 10%
Reflective practice, describes the cyclical process of describing, evaluating and
analysing a situation, such as a clinical experience, with the aim of clarifying knowledge
and engaging in lifelong learning. By engaging in reflective practice, nurses
continuously appraise their knowledge base, formulate learning goals, utilise the best
available evidence to address knowledge gaps, and develop an action plan to direct
their future learning and practice improvements.
Purpose of assessment:
The purpose of this assessment is to give you the opportunity to demonstrate your
knowledge and understanding of the subject content, and your ability to contextualise
theory to your clinical practice.
For this assessment you are asked to reflect on your learning throughout this subject,
and describe how it has impacted your clinical practice. Write a reflective paper in
• describe how your values, attitudes and philosophies regarding assessment of the
older person, have been influenced by your learning to date
• outline how you have dealt with positive and negative experiences associated with
patient assessment, as your knowledge base has evolved
• appraise your role within the multidisciplinary team and the extent to which it has
been effected by your learning experience(s)
10 The Australian College of Nursing
• articulate any learning goals and action plans you have developed as a result of
your reflection, which address knowledge deficits, inform ongoing continuing
professional development and inform practice changes in your workplace.
As this is a reflective essay, you may speak in the first person (I, me, we). It is also
acceptable to include case examples from your clinical practice, but if you do this,
please maintain patient privacy and confidentiality at all times.
In a reflective essay you are still required to use evidence from the literature to
support statements that you make and to support your discussion.
You will be marked against the criteria in the marking rubric for reflective essay.
Assessment submission requirements
All written assignments are to be submitted electronically via CNnect via TurnItIn and
will be returned to you by your tutor in the same way. For information on submitting
your assessment go to the Student Support Centre in CNnect.
Please ensure that your assignment is saved as a Microsoft word document or is
Microsoft word compatible. All other formatting should be as per the ACN’s Student
guidelines published on CNnect.
Hamilton, S 2016, ‘Reflective writing: a user-friendly guide’, British Journal of Nursing,
vol. 25, no. 16, pp. 936-937.
How this subject will benefit your practice:
Australia’s increasing ageing population means the demand for competent aged care
registered nurses (RN) will also increase. This subject, which involves the application
and integration of theory to practice, will assist RNs to develop skills in holistic and
multidimensional health assessment, the cornerstone for ensuring the delivery of
appropriate and effective health care to older people. Baseline and ongoing
assessment identifies current, emerging and potential problems, and facilitates
interventions to prevent significant functional decline and inappropriate placement for
Aged care nurses practice on a continuum between wellness and illness in a
multidisciplinary environment. A healthy ageing approach is promoted in aged care
because of its emphasis on dignity by maximising independence in daily living,
Subject information and assessment booklet 3
maintaining and restoring health, preventing and minimising the disabilities of acute
and chronic illness, allowing older people to maintain control of their life and
maintaining comfort until death. The development of assessment skills, knowledge,
the unpredictable manifestations of the ageing process and the variable causes of
disease in older people are essential to ensure these are achieved.
On successful completion of this subject it is anticipated you will be better able to:
• analyse and discuss normal ageing and the associated physiological changes that
occur and apply this knowledge to the interpretation of clinical assessment
• differentiate normal ageing processes from abnormal pathology in the
interpretation of clinical assessment findings
• analyse the current theories of ageing and discuss the implications of each of the
major theories for the assessment and management of the older person
• describe methods of clinical assessment and apply them to clinical practice
• critically analyse the use of clinical assessment tools in gathering data to make
informed decision in relation to nursing care
• critically reflect on EBP in relation to current literature and evidence in assessing
and planning care for the older person
• demonstrate ability to identify and analyse health risks and problems that require
ongoing management from a comprehensive clinical assessment of an older person