Reflective practice or self-reflection is an important skill for any health and social care worker to have. In fact,
…reflective capacity is regarded by many as an essential characteristic for professional competence.
Mann, K., Gordon, J. & MacLeod, A. Adv in Health Sci Educ (2009) 14: 595. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10459-007-9090-2
It involves looking back on something that you have done and actively and impartially considering your work, what went well, what didn’t go so well, what you could have done better and what you have learned. It has the benefits of developing emotional intelligence, empathy and compassion and can increase creative thinking skills. Reflecting on work activities is also a fantastic way of developing knowledge because it gives you breathing space to stand back, assess a situation and identify what you have done well and how you would do things better should a similar situation arise in the future. It can be thought of as a way of bridging the gap between theory and practice, using the following three-step process:
- Learn: This could be from books, the classroom, watching others, talking to others or other sources of learning/development.
- Do: Use what you have learned in your practice.
- Reflect: Think about your practice and critically examine the pros and cons.
The process of managing a situation and reflecting on it afterwards can give powerful insights about how to make improvement both personally and professionally and gain experience.