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Regulators unite to support reflective practitioners across healthcare

18 June 2019

The leaders of nine healthcare regulators have joined forces to stress the benefits and importance of good reflection among professionals in the healthcare sector.

The chief executives have signed a joint statement – 'Benefits of becoming a reflective practitioner' – which outlines the processes and advantages of being a good reflective practitioner for individuals and teams.

Reflection is the process whereby healthcare professionals assess their professional experiences – both positive and where improvements may be needed – recording and documenting insight to aid their learning and identify opportunities to improve.

Reflection allows an individual to continually improve the quality of care they provide and gives multi-disciplinary teams the opportunity to reflect and discuss openly and honestly.

The statement makes clear that teams should be encouraged to make time for reflection, as a way of aiding development, improving wellbeing and deepening professional commitment.

Chief executives of nine regulators – the General Chiropractic Council, General Dental Council, General Medical Council, General Optical Council, General Osteopathic Council, General Pharmaceutical Council, Health and Care Professions Council, the Nursing and Midwifery Council and the Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland – have all signed the statement.

It states that reflection plays an important role in healthcare work, and brings benefits to patients, by:

  • Fostering improvements in practices and services;
  • Assuring the public that health and care professionals are continuously learning and seeking to improve.

The statement reinforces that reflection is a key element of development and educational requirements and, in some professions, for revalidation as well. It also makes clear that patient confidentiality is vital, and that registrants will never be asked by regulators to provide their personal reflective notes to investigate a concern about them.

Guidance is given on how to get the most out of reflection, including having a systematic and structured approach with proactive and willing participants. It makes clear that any experience, positive or negative and however small – perhaps a conversation with a colleague – can generate meaningful insight and learning. Multi-disciplinary and professional team reflection is viewed as an excellent way to develop ideas and improve practice.

The statement also reinforces the regulators’ continued commitments to reflection across their own organisations and highlights the pivotal role it plays in changing and improving their work.