Reflective Practice

reflectiveReflective Practice is the term used to describe systematic reflection and analysis on an event which has been significant in training (learning) or employment.

There is sometimes a tendency to link reflective practice to negative events. This is by no means a full representation of the scope of use. Reflective practice can be equally used for situations where the outcome was optimal as for those that represented a departure from the desired outcome.

The format by which you record reflection is not set in stone but the important part is to reflect.

The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges Assessment Committee has produced guidance on Improving Feedback and Reflection to Improve Learning: A practical guide for trainees and trainers.  This practical guide has been developed and agreed across all Colleges via assessment leads. This can be a really helpful guide to use to facilitate reflective practice.

You can find this on the Academy website via the following link:

STAR method for reflective practice


  • Describe the general context of the activity
  • Describe the specific situation that you were in


  • Identify the task(s) that you needed to accomplish


  • Explain what you did
  • How you did it
  • Why you did it


  • What was the outcome of your actions?
  • What did you achieve?
  • What did you learn?

Another useful guide is that produced by the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges:


What you must ensure is that your reflective practice is available to demonstrate to your educational supervisor and/or ARCP panel in relation to Significant Events, teaching events, courses etc.

The RCoA e-Portfolio system have areas for reflection and you should utilise the function. Some people find a “reflective” journal or diary useful whilst others find making notes immediately after an event and then setting aside time to fully reflect on it works for them.

In order to comply with Information Governance, there must be no patient identifiable information contained within written reflections.

Your notes on reflective practice should never be used as evidence or a report for a case you were involved in. Such specific information should be kept separately if needed. The aim of reflective practice is to review one’s practice and prompt further learning.

You should discuss with your educational supervisor if you are having problems with reflective practice and they should be able to advise what is required within your training programme and suggest alternative ways to reflect.