Create a guide for the new social worker for about how to reflect on their practice. The guide must include the headings listed with an explanation of each.
- What is reflective practice?
- Why is reflective practice important?
- How reflective practice contributes to improving the quality of service provision.
- How standards can be used to help a social care worker reflect on their practice.
This guide is intended for new starters at Care Company Ltd to explain the concept and importance of reflective practice in your role as a social care worker.
What is reflective practice?
Reflective practice is a technique that uses your experiences as a social care worker to help you to improve the way that you work..
You can use reflective practice in all aspects of your work but it is most useful following particularly difficult experiences. All you need to do is think about an aspect of your work (what you did, how you felt when you were doing it) and then critically analyse your actions and ask yourself how you could have done it better. Next time a similar situation arises, you can use the knowledge you have garnered from your reflective practice to aid you. The image below depicts a typical reflective cycle:
Why is reflective practice important?
Reflective practice is a vital skill to have in the health and social care sector because we want to continually strive to improve ourselves and the services that we provide. By analysing the way we work, we gain valuable insights into what we are doing and how we might do it better.
For example, John is a Support Worker for Client X. One evening after dinner, Client X refuses to do his washing up, despite John persistently prompting him to do so for 5 minutes, so John does his client’s washing up for him. Before going to sleep, John runs through these events in his mind and asks himself how he was feeling at the time. He acknowledges that he felt tired as he and Client X had been on a long bike ride in the daytime. And because he was tired, he didn’t want to get into a long debate about why his client should do the washing up and thought it would be easier if he just did it himself. It then occurs to him that his client was probably also very tired from their bike ride and that may be the reason he didn’t want to move off the sofa. He also remembered that his client is generally very neat and tidy and probably wouldn’t have been comfortable going to bed with dirty plates at the sink. On reflection, he deduced that it is very likely that Client X would have done his washing up before bed (if John hadn’t of done it for him). John concludes that he shouldn’t have done the washing up and should have left it for Client X to do in his own time instead. John makes a mental note to leave the washing up next time Client X refuses to do it.
How reflective practice contributes to improving the practice of service provision
Reflective practice can be used to continuously improve not only your own practice but the practice of your service as a whole. By sharing the insights that you and others have gained from your own reflective practices you can work together to change the way you work for the better. And, as everybody improves their work, by using reflective practice, the entire service provision improves.
How standards can be used to help a social care worker reflect on their practice
Standards can help you use reflective practice because they can provide you with the core values and guidelines within which you should work. For example, the Code of Conduct for Healthcare Support Workers and Adult Social Care Workers in England provides guidance about how care workers should work and act in a compassionate and safe way. During your reflective practice, you should ask yourself if you are working within these guidelines and if not, then you can ensure that you adjust your practice to be in line with it next time.