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‘The Reflective Practitioner’ Joint AoMRC, COPMED, GMC and MSC Guidance launched

13 September 2018

This guidance has been produced jointly by the Academy, the Conference of Postgraduate Medical Deans (COPMED), the General Medical Council (GMC) and the Medical Schools Council (MSC). This guidance supersedes the interim guidance produced by the Academy and COPMED in March 2018.

The guidance was developed following calls from doctors, responsible officers and appraisers, for clearer information on what is meant by reflection, and how those in training and engaging in revalidation should reflect as part of their practice. It has been developed with input from all four nations and is intended for use across the UK.

The guidance outlines the importance of reflection for personal development and learning; it highlights how reflection can help doctors and medical students to maintain and improve their professional practice and drive improvements in patient safety. It emphasises ten key elements of being a reflective practitioner, including how reflection is personal; that there is no one way to reflect; and that reflective notes don’t need to capture the full details of an experience, but should focus on learning outcomes and future plans.

This work has been a joint effort by all four organisations to provide clearer advice in this area and part of a wider commitment to drive an open and honest learning culture. The documents are available on the Academy website.

Fiona Spencer Chair, RCOphth Training endorses the guidance, ‘This excellent toolkit for all doctors includes templates with multiple examples of how to utilise the guidance.  It provides invaluable guidance on how to make reflection effective and enhance learning. The practical documents not only help trainees to see how reflection can help them develop, but also aid their supervisors in giving feedback and support.’

David Miller Chair, RCOphth OTG group added, ‘The OTG applauds this guidance which is essential reading for all ophthalmic trainees allowing them to confidently learn by reflection and improve patient care whilst protecting the sanctity of this process as an educational tool.  In addition, the OTG is grateful to the RCOphth Training Committee for undertaking a national workshop on reflection for Training Programme Directors and Heads of School and hope this shared practice on reflective learning can be disseminated to trainees regionally.’

Academy and COPMED Reflective Practice Toolkit

The Reflective Practice Toolkit produced by the Academy and COPMED provides templates and examples of reflective styles and aims to facilitate best practice in the documentation of reflection on a variety of activities and events. The toolkit is intended to provide practical help and documentation to help doctors with reflective practice. It complements the general guidance.

In launching the documents Carrie MacEwen, Chair of the Academy, said ‘Being able to reflect on all aspects of clinical care is important to improve the way we look after patients. This guidance produced by the Academy, COP{MED, Medical Schools Council and the GMC and the reflective practice toolkit developed by COPMED and the Academy, which we are publishing in parallel, should reassure all doctors that it is possible to record events in a way that optimises learning and promotes active change in practice based on this learning.’