Defining Reflective Practice and Its Benefits and Implications

Nursing Pro Writers

For health practitioners, the ability to become introspective in practice has become a vital skill. Reflective practice is now used in a variety of additional allied health care professions, including radiography. Reflection is an approach that helps health practitioners satisfy the ongoing professional development (CPD) criteria for registration in the United Kingdom. This is to ensure that health professionals continue to learn and improve their practice on a daily basis. Reflective practice is a major deal in healthcare these days, and it’s getting a lot of attention. The purpose of this assignment is to discuss the definition of reflective practice, its benefits and drawbacks, its ramifications, and how to improve reflection in healthcare.

Reflective Practice

What is the definition of reflective practice?

In healthcare, reflective practice is promoted as a learning method that promotes self-evaluation and subsequent professional growth planning. One of the most important methods to learn from our experiences is through reflective practice. Reflective practice can refer to using our experiences as a starting point for learning and improving our skills. According to Jasper (2003), reflective practice consists of three elements:

Things that happened to the person (experiences).

The reflecting processes that allow a person to learn from his or her experiences.

The activities that follow the adoption of new perspectives.

Reflection is a skill that can be cultivated as part of reflective practice. It can be viewed as a means of acclimating to life as a licensed healthcare provider and enhancing the formation of a professional identity. Reflection allows the practitioner to create a new perception and appreciation of how the experiences experienced in practice might add to professional knowledge by re-examining individual events or feelings.

Reflective practice allows for an examination of daily practice in order to gain the additional knowledge, skills, and competencies needed to improve care delivery. A process of reasoned thought can be described as reflection. It allows the practitioner to critically evaluate himself and their practicing method. Various conceptions of reflection and reflective practice have been documented. However, there are two widely recognized fundamental types of reflection. ‘Reflection-in-action’ and ‘Reflection-on-action,’ according to Schön (1987), are two types of reflection that can be used in healthcare. While in a scenario, reflection-in-action entails assessing your own and others’ behavior.

It is defined as encountering situations and difficulties that need thought and problem solving while practicing. It’s also known as “thinking while doing”. The most prevalent type of reflection is reflection on action. It entails revisiting and critically analyzing past experiences in order to improve skills and future practice. The goal of reflection is to value one’s abilities and to generate a variety of future actions that are more productive. Reflective practice is viewed as more than just a method of thinking. It has the potential to become a learning situation in which future practices can be altered as a result of the process.

Benefits of Reflection

Reflective practice is an important part of continuing professional development (CPD), and all regulatory agencies for healthcare professionals demand it in order to keep their licenses. Driscoll (2006), on the other hand, observes that reflective practice is frequently portrayed as a choice for health professionals, whether or not to be thoughtful on their clinical practice.

According to Driscoll (2006), such a dedication to contemplation can assist improve practice and alter healthcare. It has been suggested that reflecting on clinical work is necessary for the advancement of clinical knowledge. According to Atwal and Jones (2009), reflective practice can help people gain a better understanding of themselves as practitioners and as individuals, which can lead to chances for professional and personal growth. Reflection in the NHS and imaging professional practice has both advantages and disadvantages. Reflective practice has the following advantages:

Reflection allows health professionals to share their knowledge, improve practice, and help practitioners make sense of difficult and complex situations. This aids in the optimization of work practices and the enhancement of interprofessional connections.

Reflection allows us to look at our activity objectively in order to improve the quality of our work performance. It also enables practice to be reviewed, allowing for improvements in areas that need to be improved, as well as recognizing learning requirements and taking responsibility for ongoing professional growth.

Reflection aids practitioners in developing a questioning mindset and the abilities required to keep their knowledge and skills up to date.

Reflective practice aids in the recognition of strengths and limitations, as well as the enhancement of development and application of the skill of reflection to the CPD cycle.

Reflection can help practitioners observe parts of their activity, as well as promote professional development, personal growth, and skill appraisal.

Reflection aids practitioners in making sense of difficult and complex work and serves as a reminder that learning never stops.

Reflection has disadvantages.

Practitioners’ ability to reflect properly is hampered by identified obstacles. Because of the hectic work environment in which practitioners operate, Smythe (2004) asks whether there is any time to ponder and be introspective. Reflection is hindered by:

Insufficient motivation from staff or coworkers to engage in introspection or reflective practices.

Organizational culture Some organizations may not encourage reflective practice because it is not highly valued in the department or because there is no interest in it.

Some employees may be hesitant to capture experiences and emotions since they were not trained how to do so.

Some practitioners hold the belief that reflection is too difficult to master and that it is a learned skill.

There is a shortage of time to engage in reflective practice due to the increased workload in imaging departments nowadays, and if the department is quite busy, there is a lack of time to engage in reflection, which requires some quality time.

Because radiography is primarily a scientific and technological profession, introspection is not required. However, radiography has progressed over time, and the practice is becoming more patient-centered.

Reflection is frequently utilized in the aftermath of a disappointing outcome.

Reflective practice’s implications for service delivery and management.

The delivery of health services is a critical component of their improvement. Effective service delivery, according to the World Health Organization (2010), is dependent on critical resources such as motivated employees, information, and equipment, all of which must be efficiently managed. Imaging departments must ensure that these important components are in place in order to provide the best possible service while also exceeding the patient’s expectations. It’s possible that reflective practice has been selected as a key technique for improving care delivery and professional growth.

CPD helps to the quality of practice and service delivery, according to the Health Professions Council standards of competency for radiographers (HPC 2007/09), which emphasize the importance of practice reflection and the requirement to document the results of such reflection. It is proposed that through encouraging reflective practice in healthcare departments, challenges of service quality can be addressed. Reflection will also aid in the development of service delivery and the provision of the best possible service, allowing the department to consider measures that should not be done and actions that should be taken. Reflective practice may provide a chance for departmental creativity and transformation.

If reflective practice is to be encouraged in departments, the department must ensure that all employees are participating in it and that they are benefiting and learning from it. Because certain employees may find it challenging to engage in reflective practices, the department must assist with the reflective procedures to ensure that all employees are actively engaging. The service head would have to ensure that all of the department’s employees are engaged in some sort of reflection, and he or she could devise techniques to help execute reflective practice activities for all employees. Implementing these principles will aid in the department’s management.

Documented examples of reflection

Reflective assignments and journaling have been proposed as techniques to promote reflection and thinking skills in healthcare in numerous journals. Forms of reflection can help practitioners understand how to enhance both their professional activity and the organization in which they work. Such approaches can formalize reflective practice, which underpins the process of continual professional development (CPD).

Individuals utilize journal writing to convey their experiences and learn through the reflective and analytical, or critical thinking process. Reflective journals are a great method to get involved in learning and can be used by practitioners to record occurrences in the field as well as their thoughts and actions in everyday circumstances, as well as how this may affect their future work. Reflective clinical journals are another way for health care practitioners to write about and reflect on clinical learning experiences. Practitioners can improve their reflective thinking and writing skills, allowing them to become more self-directed in their learning.

This is also in line with Kennison and Misselwitz (2002), who claim that reflective diaries can be a useful tool for reflection since they can assist health care professionals improve their writing abilities, reflect on their work, uncover reactions, and give new meaning to old events. Workplace reflective diaries can also be used to encourage reflective practice. Workplace diaries can be used to record events in the healthcare setting, such as a significant incident or a patient contact. It’s a daily diary of personal events and observations that can be used to express thoughts, ideas, and feelings.

Questions like what happened and why arose as a result. What are my thoughts about it? What can I get out of it? Can be asked, allowing the practitioner to think on their issue in a more structured and thought-out manner. When employing the reflective diary, Chapman et al (2008) emphasizes the importance of the health practitioner’s ability to reflect, willingness to reflect, and willingness to make adjustments as a result of this reflection. A review of the journal will aid the practitioner’s reflective writing evolution, allowing for deeper degrees of critical thought.

Methods for Improving Reflection

There are several approaches to develop reflection in order to benefit the practitioner. Within the department, appraisals might be implemented for all health practitioners to participate in. The practitioner will be asked to talk about their practice and how they use their abilities, as well as reflect on the work they are doing and make any modifications that can be made to improve the practice. Reflective practice, with the focus on reflective reporting including involvement in audits and research, can demonstrate a gain in knowledge. Reviewing local practice initiatives, among many other alternative activities, may also aid increase reflection, according to Snaith and Hardy (2007).

Continuing professional development (CPD) is important for improving clinical abilities and is required by the HPC to maintain registration. Imaging departments can create means for practitioners to participate in CPD events that are open to all. CPD will keep professionals up to date and will also assist practitioners in engaging in methods to reflect on the activity they are doing, enhancing their reflecting and thinking skills. This is advantageous to lifelong learning. CPD can include reflection as a way to improve and maintain reflective practice in a clinical context.

The CPD tool from the Society and College of Radiographers gives practitioners some direction and a structure for how to produce reflective proof of their growing knowledge base. Tutorials can be introduced in the department for practitioners who wish to learn more about reflective practice, the many types of reflection, and some reflection frameworks. Few practitioners understand how to reflect on their work. There are various ways to reflect, and by educating practitioners on these methods, they will be better able to determine which framework is ideal for their learning and reflect on their work more effectively.


Although experience is at the heart of learning in imaging departments, deeper learning from experience requires reflection. Reflective practice is becoming an increasingly important ability to include into clinical practice and ongoing professional development (CPD), thus it’s critical that the imaging department understands its purpose and potential. Adopting a reflective approach to clinical work is critical since it is an effective way to highlight best practices while also advancing professional development. Different approaches and approaches to reflection in practice can be used to enrich the professional’s future practice and how it is implemented in their everyday work lives; nevertheless, there are clear hurdles to reflection within an imaging department.

This includes time due to the hectic environment that a hospital provides, as well as a lack of enthusiasm if the vast majority of health care practitioners are not participating. To improve patient care and encourage effective service delivery, imaging departments must include tools for practitioners to reflect on their practice. Reflection may be a powerful mover in the learning process, leading to change and development on a professional and personal level. To achieve this, different measures must be taken into consideration.

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