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Importance of Reflective Practice in Healthcare

Info: 1646 words (7 pages) Nursing Assignment
Published: 19th May 2020

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Tagged: reflective practice

With reference to at least one research article, define ‘reflective practice’ and describe its importance in healthcare.

The use of reflective learning has become an important tool in developing health care professionals (Bindels, et al 2018) describes reflection as a virtual concept that is centred around the idea of non-specific or ‘fuzzy’ introspective analysis. However, this definition although suitably accurate, fails to address the potential benefits when applied within the health care profession.  (Boud, Keogh, & Walker, 1985) shows that by focusing the parameters through which reflection process takes place and incorporating this as part of a wider educational and development cycle. Learning can not only be highly focused and appropriate for the individual but can also take place away from the traditional classroom environment.

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In effect learning becomes propelled by the cyclic need to improve. Everyone having their own unique classroom, teacher and text through which the range of human experiences can be explored. Historical experiences are therefore not lost but are the main study guide or “recommended text” through which the student can shape and improve future actions, techniques or decisions.

For many life critical or complex working environments improvements in quality and accuracy of decision-making or technique are pivotal factors in the continued measurement of individual or team performance.  The uncertainty through which many heath care decisions are subject to means that no decision can prove to be 100% correct 100% of the time. Just as everyone is unique. Each health care choice is also unique. Nevertheless, the need to include uncertainty and the complexity of many health care treatment requires the use of nonlinear analytical tool. The ability to quickly adapt thinking and action strategies to the parameters of the real time situation are a powerful asset of many reflective practices.  Research by (Wald, White, Reis, Esquilbel, & Anthony, 2019) (Mann, Gordon, & MacLeod, 2009) suggests that a reflective learning process offers an attractive and beneficial technique in the continued development of healthcare professionals.  It concludes that by introducing a formal process of reflective learning. Many students show a measurable improvement in developmental learning in addition to a marked improvement in adaptation of professionalism and professional responsibility.

 With reference to specific formative activities completed during RAE1, reflect on your own educational practices and progress over the first academic year of the course.
Using specific examples of the feedback you received for the online tasks, indicate how this feedback informed your learning.

Year 1 RAE is difficult, but I think these experiences were not unique to this unit. At the beginning of the year the main problem was really knowing the level a quantity of knowledge that is appropriate for each unit. It is easy to be swept up the quantity of information being shared. It was all new and quite interesting. It can be is very difficult to focus on what knowledge is needed and at what level. By the middle of the year it became obvious that the lecturers were really trying hard to guide our knowledge and that this sometimes meant that idea were not fully developed.

Towards the end of the year things had started to fit together its possible to see the relative importance of each subject. At this point I think that each core subject is sufficiently defined to make its purpose clear. The outstanding issue is integration between each core unit. How does the skills I should have developed in RAE integrate with the skills learned in FH or BAO? I think on a subconscious level BAO has made the biggest impact. My strongest memory is that we should question everything, and I think I have tried to implement this where appropriate.

RAE is proving to be the most difficult area to reconcile. One of my primary drivers for embarking on this course was the possibility of research. The course material clearly outlines the tools & skills required. However, I have not used much the tools. I am concerned that thee skills are not developing and that these are essential to work in subsequent years.

Knowing my dominant learning method has forced me to reflect on where I feel most content and I have actively tried to use other learning strategies such as group discussions to complements my learning. This has highlighted that my though process may be very different from my fellow students. However, I am undecided as to its significance and maybe this should be considered a help rather than a hinderance.

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With reference to at least one published source, describe the role of Action Planning in personal and professional development.

Action Planning can be defined as “A series of actions to achieve a specified outcome” (Markwell, Enock, & et Al, 2019). Similarly,  (Schwarzer, Scholz, & Schuz, 2005) choose to define action planning as a tool to help individuals implement their intensions. Stating that an action plan forms the linkage between the intentions, goal and behaviour. However, they go on to define action planning in reference to a larger developmental strategy. They propose that an action plan forms only one part of an effective development and learning strategy. Showing there exists interconnection between action planning and coping planning the later providing the emotional tools, with respect to this development process. They conclude that it is the coexistence and interconnection between the two planning tools have a measurable influence on the goals outlined in the action plan.

As a health care professional this twinned approach to development may provide some indication as to the formulation and success of any development program.  If achieving the specified outcome, it the best-case result of any development program action plan then any factor that can add a positive contribution should be welcomed.

This does not detract from the need for professional development. Within any profession new ideas techniques are developed and shared. The effectiveness and efficiencies of existing method or practises are review and adjusted. This constantly changing landscape must be shared across the wider community. Focusing on Osteopath, the General Osteopathic Council practice standards state that: “…You must keep your professional knowledge and skills up to date.” The requirement to remain “up to date” is a standard by which many profession governing bodies include as a core requirement. The use of action planning and its intrinsic requirement of clear outcomes make its inclusion in the professional development process a valuable tool.

Skill to developed Target date What will you need to do to achieve this What resources/help might you need How will you demonstrate that you have achieved your goal
Improve reading skills Dec 2020/ ongoing Review study skills. Online tutorials/UCO study classes (difficult for PT Students) Be able to effectively extract important information from research publications/books
Improve Written Communication Skill Dec 2020 Understand the different types of documents, online Tutorials, UCO study guides, Books be able to write summaries, review of articles. Use referencing well
Better knowledge of biomechanical structure/Function Dec 2019 Review current lecture notes
Review Online Tutorials
More time for technique practice
people willing to practice,
Time away from work
educational media
Better/confident examination technique
Cross Reference Structure and Function for each MOSTPT1 Examination technique
Work towards better listening skills Dec 2020/ongoing Try to schedule extra clinical observation sessions, observer 3/4th year student when possible. UCO clinic time
Time away from work


  • (2019, June 20). Retrieved from Collins Online English Dictionary: https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/skill
  • Bindels, E., Verberg, C., Scherpbier, A., Heeneman, S., & Lombarts, K. (2018). Relection Revised: how phisicians conseptualize and experience reflection in professional practice – a qualitative study. BioMed Centeral, 18-105.
  • Boud, D., Keogh, R., & Walker, D. (1985). Reflection:Turning Experience into Learning. London: Kogan Page Ltd.
  • Mann, K., Gordon, J., & MacLeod, A. (2009). Reflection and reflective practice in health professions education: a systematic review. Advances in Health Sciences Education, 14-595.
  • Markwell, S., Enock, K., & et Al. (2019, June 20). 5d – Understanding the Theory and Process of Strategy Development. Retrieved from Health Knolwedge: https://www.healthknowledge.org.uk/public-health-textbook/organisation-management/5d-theory-process-strategy-development/strategic-planning
  • Schwarzer, R., Scholz, U., & Schuz, B. (2005). Action planning and coping planning for long‐term lifestyle change: theory and assessment. European Journal of Social Psychology, 565-576.
  • Wald, H. S., White, J., Reis, S., Esquilbel, A., & Anthony, D. (2019). Grappling with complexity: Medical students’ reflective writings about challenging patient encounters as a window into professional identity formation. Medical Teacher, 152-160.


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Reflective practice is as a medium for an individual’s reflective capacity to be communicated and examined both internally and externally. Self directed learning is emphasised through reflective writing as students engage in a more holistic approach which uncovers the reasons behind their actions.

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