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Regulators unite to support reflective practice across healthcare 

25 July 2019

We have joined forces with eight other healthcare regulators to stress the benefits and importance of good reflective practice among professionals in the healthcare sector. 

The chief executives of nine regulators-the General Pharmaceutical Council, General Chiropractic Council, General Dental Council, General Medical Council, General Optical Council, General Osteopathic Council, Health and Care Professions Council, the Nursing and Midwifery Council and the Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland- have signed a joint statement, Benefits of becoming a reflective practitioner, which outlines the processes and advantages of good reflective practice for individuals and teams.

Reflection is the process where healthcare professionals assess their professional experiences – both positive and where improvements may be needed – recording and documenting insight to aid their learning and identify opportunities to improve. 

Reflective practice allows an individual to continually improve the quality of care they provide and gives multi-disciplinary teams the opportunity to reflect and discuss openly and honestly.

The statement makes clear that teams should be encouraged by their employers to make time for reflection, as a way of aiding development, improving wellbeing and deepening professional commitment.

The statement reinforces that reflection is a key element of development and educational requirements and, in some professions (including the pharmacy professions), for revalidation as well. It also makes clear that patient confidentiality is vital, and that registrants will never be asked to provide their personal reflective notes to investigate a concern about them.

Guidance is given in the statement on how to get the most out of reflective practice, including having a systematic and structured approach with proactive and willing participants. It makes clear that any experience, positive or negative and however small – perhaps a conversation with a colleague – can generate meaningful insight and learning. Multi-disciplinary and professional team reflection is viewed as an excellent way to develop ideas and improve practice. 

Reflection is a core part of our model for revalidation for pharmacy professionals. We encourage pharmacy professionals to reflect on our standards and their practice in their reflective account, and to reflect with others through their peer discussion. Registrants choose their peers and may choose to reflect as part of a group, including a multi-disciplinary group.

All pharmacy professionals will need to submit a peer discussion record and a reflective account record, as well as four CPD records, in their second year of revalidation. You can find out more about what these activities are and how to record them well on our website.

And you can see an example of a reflective account from Duncan, our Chief Executive, in his blog.

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