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Article Overview: Covid-19 is changing our everyday lives and now many of us are stuck inside for the foreseeable future. But there are still things that we can do to remain productive and grow professionally. The General Medical Council (GMC) suggest that reflection is part of the learning cycle in which you develop as a medical professional. Reflection is one activity that you can do at home, using your time to critically analyse your current and past experiences.
• Most importantly, reflection develops you as an individual and allows you to learn from your experiences
• Your findings will be useful for your personal statements
• Your reflections will be a great topic to discuss in interviews
• It is a skill used everyday in medical practice, so you can start developing the skill now
How to reflect
• Reflection is personal, so there is no one-size-fits all method
• Reflecting involves thinking about and questioning your experiences, ideas, behaviours and thoughts
• You need to go beyond a description of what has happened. It’s not about factually listing what you did, such as shadowing a GP or taking part in a group project, it’s about what you learnt from the experience and how it impacts your future actions.
• If you prefer digital writing, you could post a private blog about your experiences
• Visual learners could use a diagram to record your reflection
• Creative students could write reflective poems
• If you prefer hand-written notes, you could keep a reflective diary
What to reflect on:
• Group projects or assignments
• Feedback from teachers and/or supervisors
• Your thoughts about different subjects
• Class discussions
• Patient or professional interactions
• Literature/books you have read
• A placement type e.g at the end of a GP placement
• Your values
• A new idea
• News articles
It’s really important that you anonymise as much information as possible when talking about patients, colleagues, experiences or medical professionals.
You should anonymise:
• Age – instead use generic terms such as toddler, adolescent, adult etc
• Gender – use they or them, keep your notes gender neutral
• Job title – this could identify which patient you are discussing
• Ward/GP practice you saw them at
• The date you saw a patient on
What? So What? Now What?
• First discuss the ‘What?’ – Your thoughts/feelings at the time of an experience and some context of the situation.
• Next analyse the ‘So What?’ – What is the significance of what happened, your values and feelings involved?
• Finally, examine the ‘Now What?’ – What you can learn from this and how you can take actions in the future.
Gibbs reflective cycle
• Description – what happened?
• Feeling – what were you thinking and feeling?
• Evaluation – what was good and what was bad about the experience?
• Analysis – what sense can you make of the situation?
• Conclusion – what else could you have done and what is the main takeaway of the situation?
• Action Plan – what could you do in the future?