The Importance of Reflection in Health and Social Care.
Using critical reflection is turning to be a common practice that is embraced by various professions using the art in ensuring there is scrutiny and concrete practice. Especially in medical education, the practice is given an upper consideration. In the public health sector, it is considered part of the professional development despite the fact that it has no teaching or programmed training concerning the reflection.
Reflection itself is a process that entails a chronology of events which is significant in the determination of its role (Latrobe.libguides.com, 2017). It usually commences with a description of a situation that occurred which prompted the reflection. In most cases, the negative occurrences precede the reflection since it considered that individuals learn from their mistakes. Nevertheless, the reflection can also be provoked by a positive. The nest stage entails relating to the knowledge that exists with the individual taking into consideration of the relevance of the reflection with the theory that exists. The process is finalized by the change which concludes on the undertakings that need to be carried out to either adjust or maintain the previous act.
There exist a range of ways unto which the care providers can engage in which entails methods such as taking part in writing journals, engaging in discussions and utilization of the technology such as in the case of blogs. While engaging in the reflection, it is essential to consider various aspects such as the individual perspective, the impacts on the society as well as the dynamics that exist in the team involved. Reflection aims at improving the practice and learning from the relevant experiences as this article displays it and this comes from being analytical rather than doing the apparent description of situations.
The health and the social care sectors have distinct directions and guidelines that are to be followed by the workers in enabling the development of professionals as well as the establishment of the competencies related to behavior, attitude, and skills. The sectors encourage professionals to engage in personal reflection as part of the essential practice (Brett et al., 2014). Various acre centers have high expectations for their workers to get up to date via the continuing professional development. Despite these need and expectations of professional development, the experience of carrying out some of the developmental activities does not lead to a substantial level that can give room for future developments hence the need by the care centers towards their staffs to engage in critical reflections on their experiences.
Reflection has a significant role in contributing to learning. Learning itself encompasses various dimensions namely emotional, cognitive and social aspects. While engaging in the practicals, the cognitive dimensions are relatively easy to measure via assessment or the performance carried out unlike the social and the emotional dimensions which are not easy to capture or quantify. Reflections come in from its frameworks can be used in supporting the development of both the emotional and the social aspects.
The learning role of reflection is evident from the four stages of Kolb’s learning cycle which entails four vital elements including a concrete experience, observation, and reflection on the experiences, development of the abstract concepts as well as testing in the new occurrences(Husebø, O’Regan, and Nestel, 2015). The theory by Kolb and Fry claims that the circle can commence at any given point but irrespective of the starting point, the individual engages in a task then carries out a reflection on the experience of the activity conducted. The information achieved by the reflection can be shared with other practitioners and applied in the new situations hence good practices are embraced (Gould and Taylor, 2017).
The process of applying the new experience gained through reflection requires one to have the ability to make a generalization in identifying principles that guide it and the connections that lead to various actions for a period and in range of situations. In the entire process, the learner places a rating on themselves against the expected outcomes or achievements. This is significant for the learners and acts as a significant step in the realization of the continuous professional development.
In both health and social care, reflection can generate new knowledge and provide one with the insight that can be useful in enhancing one’s practice. This may take the direction where one reflects on the feeling for a certain circumstance that led to the development of a particular practice in either the medical or the social sector for instance existence of a problem that needed a solution and establishment of a practice that solved it which in the long run impacted the practices in the institution. This creates a picture that engulfs reflection portraying it as a process that comes about after a critical thinking that gives room for personal assessment for not only the betterment of the profession but also being an agent of change. This is significant to caregivers in the process engaging in various decision-making processes.
Apart from the role in learning, reflection is significant in personal development as it leads to self-awareness by the practitioner and this encourages good practice by the individuals who engage in it. This is so because one will be aware of the areas of strength and build to maintain them while also get aware of their areas of weakness and improve on them as well. I the case the reflection if narrowed to the improvement of the care of the patient, it assists in the expansion and development of clinical knowledge and skills among the health workers.
In carrying out long-term projects, the reflection is essential as it acts as a guide that restricts both individual and team involved to maintain a specific course to enable achievement of the long-term objectives. The reflection acts as a tool for the professionals that they can use to assess beliefs, values and the various approaches that they embrace in the entire period of practice. The outcome of the reflection then guides the care providers on the manner to handle the programs that are put in place to ensure the excellent provision of care as they can adjust accordingly.
It is essential to carry out reflection especially to the healthcare providers since it is a critical issue in enhancing the evidenced-based practice which is one of the engagements that has promoted the provision of quality services to the patients (Ellis, 2016). Written journals on various practices act as a guide to others who may not have encountered the situation but still enabled to apply the best practices which have already turned fruitful. This will enhance both the patient and the practitioners’ satisfaction with the service being provided. At the same time, in the case of a reflection that is provoked by a positive occurrence, it acts as a significant process since the positive practice can be shared among the professionals to allow for the production of the same or better result (Latrobe.libguides.com, 2017). This provides for an avenue of improving the quality of care that is being provided by the practitioners.
With the analytical mind that ensures the process of reflection, the participants provide avenues for research on various issues as they get challenged with their past engagement (Munn-Giddings and Winter, 2013). The problems that may remain unresolved may then force the individual or the concerned teams to look for the solution to the identified problem.
Reflection is as well critical as the service being provided, and this can be deduced from the famous Socrates quote of ‘unexamined life is not worth living.’ In the social care where various community members are involved, there is need to reflect and adjust the interaction with the public in order to be able to accommodate various groups of the social structure (Baldwin, 2016). At the same time, the reflection can assist a social worker to determine new issues that they society may require to be addressed. The reflection then assists the practitioner to determine them and come up with strategies on their solution hence improving on his or her practice. It is through reflection that the social worker can also assess the relationship that exists between him or her and the community that is on the receiving end of the services and adjust accordingly.
The practice gives the strategies of being transparent in whatever is being carried out by the care providers in the health sector and the society at large. It does this by bringing all the issues at hand in the open for scrutiny by the concerned parties hence allows for accountability and taking of responsibility where there is a need. This gives the room for asking and enquiring on the questions that have never been asked before and the provision of their answers.
In addition to the above roles, reflection gives room for a relatively safe and confidential ways of carrying out explorations on issues that have trespassed over a period. In the same forum, the concerned individual is given a chance to express the experiences that in other instances might be difficult to put across. This allows for a fair hearing that might not be served in the case where issues are brushed off without critical analysis mainly when it was a critical incident.
Reflection challenges assumptions that may have been placed for a long time since every person might come out with different experiences. This may change perceptions and improve the care offered to the public (Knott and Scragg, 2016). For instance, the assumption that may be existing on the poverty levels of a population can be challenged by the report and reflection of the social workers or the nurses who might have carried out home visits for various families in the community. Another instance is where the healthcare provider may assume conditions such as malaria to be occurring only in the tropical regions but through reflection, they can consider it since the travelers from the endemic regions can develop the condition.
The best care provisions can only be attained via reflection because it gives room for understanding situations at hand and handling them. It challenges the ideological illusions as well as damaging the social and cultural biases that are usually common among practitioners especially those that are culturally incompetent (Ellis, 2016). It also plays a role in examining and questioning n of the personal behaviors of both the service providers and service users in health and social sectors which in some cases might have silenced the voices that criticize them or even might have marginalized a particular group.
Reflection, however, suffers drawbacks based on the fact that reflection is highly an individualized activity and in certain circumstances, its outcome cannot be readily generalized to other people or situations within the health and the social sectors. At the same time, it is a highly diversified activity with its processes lacking clarity on the details, and this may bring about challenges in measuring its impacts (Baldwin, 2016). In the long haul, it may make it impossible to determine its success. Besides, reflections also viewed to be taking too much time as a process of enhancing care provision. This makes it face some resistance from managers who feel that the improved efficiency can be obtained through other aspects such as through competency, proper planning, and budgeting. Reflection also encourages the caregivers to carry out self-assessment whose results is the disclosure of the weaknesses of both an individual as well as a unit which can be detrimental as it may undermine the competitive aspect of service provision.
Apart from the negative aspects of reflection, it remains a significant aspect in the provision of care services. It enhances learning while at the same time acts as guidance for the provision of long-term services. It also has a role of providing a platform for analysis of occurrences with the development of recommendations on what needs to be adjusted. With all these taken into account, reflection act as a strong tool that can impact good practices both in health and social care.
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