For hearing care professionals, most workdays are extremely hectic. Practitioners often find themselves rushing from one appointment to the next without a chance to digest their experiences. This can lead to frustration, stress, miscommunication, and ineffective consultations. Furthermore, as practitioners frequently encounter people with severe and sometimes incurable conditions, feelings of helplessness and inadequacy are not uncommon.
An effective measure against these trends is taking time to reflect. By prioritizing reflection on a regular basis, professionals can achieve tremendous changes, both in their outlook on themselves and their clients.
The Reflective Journal provides an intuitive method for quick and structured reflection. By raising a few essential questions, the journal helps practitioners to gain deeper insight into their own behavior, to recognize and celebrate their own strengths, and identify areas where there might be room for development.
What is reflective practice
Reflective practice is a recognized method widely used across healthcare professions. Used consistently, reflection can help practitioners grow their skills in self-directed learning, improve their motivation, and enhance the quality of care they are able to provide. Fundamentally, reflective practice is a key element of professional and person-centered practice.
The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges defines reflection as “…the process whereby an individual thinks analytically about anything relating to their professional practice with the intention of gaining insight and using the lessons learned to maintain good practice or make improvements where possible.”
While there is a misconception among some professionals that reflective practice is time-consuming, unnecessary, and inefficient, evidence shows that deliberate reflection can help practitioners to strengthen their focus, optimize decision-making, improve diagnosis and treatment skills, and ultimately make them more efficient.
Furthermore, as reflection is a fundamental skill that can be intuitively mastered by all of us, it does not require training or time-consuming preparation, only dedication. Christine DePacido, who authored the first edition of the Reflective Journal, says: “When you start to use reflective practice, it becomes immediate. You start to reflect as you work with somebody – and what happens is that you need less sessions in the long run to get the same results.”
The Reflective Journal
The Reflective Journal takes practitioners through a series of questions that help formalize the process of reflection. Questions such as “How did I feel?” and “What factors influenced the way I acted?” prompt the practitioner to analyze their own behavior and consider what they might do differently next time. The journal also encourages practitioners to highlight their own strengths and urges them to collect any positive feedback, as this will help them to grow and thrive as professionals.
The journal can be used after a particularly positive or challenging appointment – or used on a regular basis as time allows. For some, there is also great value in practicing reflection in a group context, helping to provide emotional support and professional feedback. The essential thing is to be mindful of the need to reflect and prioritize it consistently.
The Reflective Journal can be used as an interactive pdf or as printouts for use throughout the day or whenever needed.
The Reflective Journal was originally developed in collaboration with Christine DePlacido, Senior Lecturer at Queen Margaret University (Retired), following the seminar series The Process of Defining Hearing.