This is the first of three articles exploring skill analysis, assisting readers to select and describe a practice skill of their choice. The aim is to help the nurse to proceed in a stepwise fashion, to understand what comprises the skill and what is important as the skill is put into action. It is anticipated that readers will make varying progress in this work. Some will analyse their skill with considerable confidence, others much more tentatively. However, first insights are important and valuable. In subsequent articles, the reader is assisted to evaluate the chosen skill and then make plans for its improvement. The most valuable aspect of this series is the understanding of the skill analysis process as a means to focus reflective practice.