Campaign to support reflective practice

NEW guidance and resources have been published in a bid to encourage doctors, dentists and other clinicians to take part in reflective practice.

A joint statement signed by the General Medical Council (GMC), General Dental Council (GDC) and seven other UK healthcare regulators emphasised the importance of reflective practice in improving services and patient care.

Being a reflective practitioner, it said, benefits people using health and care services by:

  • Supporting individual professionals in multi-disciplinary work
  • Fostering improvements in practice and services
  • Assuring the public that health and care professionals are continuously learning and seeking to improve.

It endorsed the value of reflecting in groups, teams and multi-professional settings "to develop ideas that can bring about positive change" in practice. Employers are urged to encourage teams to make time for reflection as a way of "aiding development, improving wellbeing and deepening professional commitment".

The regulators hope health and care professionals will "proactively and willingly engage" in the practice to make it "less of a tick-box exercise". They recommend following a systematic and structured approach that aims to draw out learning outcomes.

The statement also reassured clinicians that personal written reflections will not be used to investigate concerns about them. Registrants will be given the choice of offering them as evidence of insight into their practice. Patient confidentiality, it said, is vital. "Where reflections are recorded, they should be anonymised and focus on learning gain and development rather than the identifiable details of people, the experience, activity or event."

Both positive and negative experiences should be recorded, the statement added. People who use services, patients, their families and carers should be involved in the reflective process to help professionals "focus on what matters to people using health and social care services".

The GMC has added new resources, case studies and learning materials to its online resource The reflective practitioner. Resources are also available on the GDC’s website.