Reflection is a process which helps you gain insight into your professional practise by thinking analytically about any element of it
Reflection is a process which helps you gain insight into your professional practise by thinking analytically about any element of it. The insights developed, and lessons learned, can be applied to maintain good practice and can also lead to developments and improvements for both the professional and their service users.
Different people learn in different ways and while one person may learn by reflecting on a positive outcome, another may find it most useful to focus on a situation they found challenging. It is important that reflection is done in the way that suits you best to provide the greatest benefit.
If you are including reflective practice with your CPD profile, you must make sure that you remember to keep information about your service users confidential. You can do this by making sure to anonymise sensitive information that can identify individuals from your notes before submitting these as part of your portfolio. You can find further information about our expectations in this area in our confidentiality guidance for registrants.
What isn't reflection
While reflection takes many different forms, it is important to understand that several activities closely linked to reflection are not themselves reflective. Reflecting is not merely the act of talking, meeting with your team, meeting with a supervisor or writing about your day, but these activities can become reflective if you use them to analytically assess your practice and to develop insights.
Supervision is an important part of meeting your standards and of CPD and it can also play a role in your reflections. However, supervision is not a substitute for reflection and the same is true for other activities like coaching or clinical case reviews.
Why should you reflect?
Reflection can have positive impacts for your service users, your colleagues, your practice and your health and wellbeing.
Reflection allows you to identify and appreciate positive experiences and better identify ways that you can improve your practice and service delivery. It can also be useful when you have had more challenging experiences; helping you to process and learn from them.
Employers and managers will also be able to see the benefits when their staff take part in reflective practice. Professionals who are able to reflect, protect their mental health, and share together can make for stronger and more cohesive teams. Employers and managers are also likely to see the positive impact where professionals have a space to discuss best practice and to learn how things could have gone better.
We therefore encourage employers and managers to support their staff to undertake regular reflection as this can lead to a more confident, insightful, open and honest culture.
When we spoke to registrants about the benefits of reflective practice, they told us this.
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