Reflection is a process that invites you to look back on the most significant events that have happened in your work and:

  • describe what happened (Description)
  • think about how it made you feel (Feelings)
  • assess what was good and what was bad about the experience (Evaluation)
  • weigh up the situation to get an overall sense of its importance (Analysis)
  • think about how things could have been done differently (Analysis)
  • think about how you would act if a similar situation arises in the future (Action plan).

You might actually want to write down your thoughts around these issues. Many health care practitioners maintain ‘reflective diaries’ in which they record their thoughts and learning on issues such as:

  • dealing with distressed relatives
  • taking part in an emergency procedure
  • helping a disabled patient/client with a particularly difficult task
  • dealing with a patient/client who refuses to have an important procedure carried out
  • discussing with a colleague an issue around confidentiality or maintaining a patient’s/client’s dignity.

Remember, though, that as part of your commitment to maintaining patients’ and colleagues’ confidentiality and privacy, you should never identify any person by name in your reflective writings (health staff often use identifiers like ‘Mr A’, ‘Mrs B’, ‘Nurse C’ etc. when they write). You should also takes steps to ensure that only people you would want to see the entries in your diary – your supervisor, perhaps, or a professional mentor or coach – can access them: social media is therefore definitely NOT the place to make these kinds of reflections!

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