Summary Saylor [Nurse Educator 15(2) (1990) 8–11] considers the ability to reflect as an imperative component for the development of competency. This paper highlights the benefit of reflection as demonstrated by a student undertaking an orthopaedic nursing programme, at higher diploma level. It will demonstrate that by using reflection as a learning tool the progression from the level of experienced practitioner (at point of entry to the course) to proficient practitioner (at point of departure) can be developed (Benner, P., 1984. From novice to expert. Excellence and Power in Clinical Nursing Practice. Addison-Wesley, California).