Reflective Practice In Healthcare

How often do you reflect on your actions or decisions? Reflective practice is a skill that helps us improve our performance and become better professionals – especially in the medical field. 

In this article, we are going to be exploring what reflective practice is and why it is so important in healthcare. The information we will be sharing will be relevant to all medical professionals, including doctors, radiographers, psychologists, and more.

Let’s begin!

Why Is Reflective Practice So Important In Healthcare?

Reflective practice is a key component of professional development. It involves reflecting on experiences and thinking about them from multiple perspectives. This allows us to gain insight into our strengths and weaknesses, and develop strategies to overcome challenges.

It’s important to recognize that reflective practice is not always easy. In fact, it requires effort and time. That’s why it’s essential to schedule regular reflection sessions. If you don’t take the time to reflect on your work, you risk becoming complacent and forgetting about new ideas.

The benefits of reflective practice are numerous. They include increased self-awareness, improved decision-making skills, better understanding of personal values, greater empathy for others, better communication and higher quality patient care

How To Perform Reflective Practice In Healthcare:

To perform reflective practice effectively, you need to have both knowledge and experience. You also need to be able to think critically and objectively. Here are some tips to help you get started:

In order to better understand the benefits of reflective practice in healthcare, let’s refer to the Johns and Atkins, and Murphy Models:

There are two models used to explain how reflective practice works in healthcare practice. These models were developed by John M. Atkinson and colleagues at Harvard University. They are known as the “Johns Model” and the “Atkins and Murphy Model”. Both models describe the same process but differ slightly in terms of their emphasis on different aspects of the process.

The Johns model emphasises the importance of gaining a clear perspective on events and situations. It focuses on the following five steps:

1) Awareness of the situation

2) Self-reflection

3) Reflection on the situation

4) Evaluation of the situation

5) Action planning

On the other hand, the Atkins and Murphy model emphasises the importance of evaluating the situation. It includes the following four steps:

1) Identification of the event

2) Analysis of the event

3) Interpretation of the event

4) Decision making

Both models emphasise the importance of critical thinking. However, the Johns model places less emphasis on analysis and interpretation while the Atkins and Murphy model put more emphasis on these two areas.

Examples Of Reflective Practice In Healthcare:

Here are some examples of reflective practice in healthcare:

Example One

A doctor was working with an elderly woman who had been admitted to the hospital after suffering a stroke. She was confused and disoriented. Her family members were worried because they could not communicate with her. The doctor decided to spend some time talking to the patient and trying to figure out what she wanted. He asked her questions such as “What do you remember?” or “Do you know where you are?”. 

After several minutes of conversation, he realised that he needed to ask her more specific questions, as the patient was very confused. So, he asked her if she knew who he was. When she paused to answer, this helped the doctor realise that his patient did not know who he was. 

He then explained to her that he was a doctor and told her about all the medical problems that she might face. He also told her that she should try to eat something so that she will regain her strength. Finally, he gave her a prescription for medication and left the room.

While this is only one example of how reflective practice can be used in healthcare, we can clearly see how it can be used to help offer an enhanced level of professionalism, increased empathy, the ability to make better decisions, and a greater overall commitment to quality improvement. 

By reflecting on the way that he was asking his patient questions, the doctor was able to gain a deeper understanding of the situation. As a result, he was able to provide a much more effective service to his patient.

Example Two

An emergency room physician was caring for a young boy who had just suffered a severe head injury. The child’s mother arrived in the ER shortly after the accident occurred. She was extremely upset and angry. She demanded to speak to someone immediately. The doctor tried to calm her down and reassure her that everything would be fine. But the mother continued to yell at him and refused to leave the room. 

The doctor felt uncomfortable and frustrated by the situation. He thought that perhaps he should have handled the situation differently. Then he remembered that he had seen similar situations before and that there was always a solution. 

So, he went back into the room and asked the mother if she would like to talk to him privately. She agreed and followed him into another room. There, the doctor apologised for not handling the situation with more professionalism and empathy. He explained her son’s situation to her in a calm and reassuring way. And finally, he offered her a few suggestions about how she could comfort her son while he was being treated.

In this instance, the doctor was using reflective practice to improve his own skills and to enhance his professional image. In addition, he was demonstrating empathy and compassion for the patient and his family. This made him appear to be a compassionate and competent doctor. Reflecting on the incident allowed him to learn from his mistakes. It also enabled him to develop new strategies for dealing with difficult patients and their families.


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