Ten key points on being a reflective practitioner

  1. Reflection is personal and there is no one way to reflect. A variety of tools are available to support structured thinking that help to focus on the quality of reflections.
  2. Having time to reflect on both positive and negative experiences - and being supported to reflect - is important for individual wellbeing and development.
  3. Group reflection often leads to ideas or actions that can improve patient care.
  4. The healthcare team should have opportunities to reflect and discuss openly and honestly what has happened when things go wrong.
  5. A reflective note does not need to capture full details of an experience. It should capture learning outcomes and future plans.
  6. Reflection should not substitute or override other processes that are necessary to record, escalate or discuss significant events and serious incidents.
  7. When keeping a note, the information should be anonymised as far as possible.
  8. We do not ask a doctor to provide their reflective notes in order to investigate a concern about them. They can choose to offer them as evidence of insight into their practice.
  9. Reflective notes can currently be required by a court. They should focus on the learning rather than a full discussion of the case or situation. Factual details should be recorded elsewhere.
  10. Tutors, supervisors, appraisers and employers should support time and space for individual and group reflection.