Background A recent study in postgraduate education found that reflection played a vital role in helping junior doctors to learn from clinical experience. All UK doctors are expected to undertake reflection and to make this an essential foundation for lifelong learning. Medical students have an attachment with the hospice for one week during their fourth year of medical training. During this time they work with our teams on the inpatient unit, the day hospice, and in the community. Following the EAPC conference (June, 2016) when Jason Boland looked at the themes of written reflection amongst medical students in Hull, we implemented the use of a reflective piece for all our students. We sought consent from the students that their reflection be anonymised and be used to educate other professionals.
Aims To introduce reflection as a beneficial practice to students for lifelong learning.
Methods The students were asked to submit a 300- word article at the end of the week to the speciality doctor, in which they reflected upon a situation encountered during their week at the hospice that they felt had impacted upon them.
Results The range of topics was diverse and included ‘The impact of certifying a patient’, ‘Being present when a patient or relative has been given bad news’, ‘A patient who wished to go to Dignitas’ and ‘Caring for young patients’. The medical students valued the opportunity in a supportive environment to carefully review, reflect and discuss different emotive situations that they had found surprising, distressing or inspiring during their placement. This in itself was cathartic and enabled them to receive appropriate emotional support and signposting if required to other support services before finishing the attachment.
Conclusion Reflection is a valuable tool in experiential learning, we hope this experience will endorse the value of reflective practice in their future careers.
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