Reflective practice is the process of looking back on the work you have previously done in order to get better understanding of yourself, how you work, your thoughts, feelings and anything you can learn from those experiences, whether good or bad. It is a way of learning by reviewing and thinking back over a situation or an activity. As a result you can identify your strengths and weaknesses and start working on improving yourself. Most of the time you do some form of reflection without even realising it.
You can use different methods for a reflective practice:
keeping a diary or a journal, writing down what happened can help you get a clear picture of a situation having a debriefing, supervision, group discussion as your colleagues and manager can provide a vital support and help in reviewing your practice simply taking a break and thinking about what happened can help you put your thoughts in order.
Following an example of a reflective circle, that contains six steps, can give you an idea of how to reflect.
1. Description- think about what happened?
2. Feelings- what did you think and how did you feel about it?
3. Evaluation- what were the positives and the negatives?
4. Analysis- what sense can you make of it?
5. Conclusion- what else could you have done?
6. Action plan- what will you do next time?
Reflective practice is important as it helps to improve the quality of service we deliver. It can give you an awareness of your own personal thoughts and feelings, your strengths and weaknesses. It can help you identify learning needs, which areas you need to improve and work on. In effect it’s a great professional development tool.
Reflective practice can help you learn what works for certain service users, as they are all individual, sometimes different approach and attitude needs to be taken. You will gain the knowledge of what could be added or taken away in order to provide an individual care package. It will help you to think about how you work, what you’ve done well and what can you do to improve the things in the future.
Care Standards are essential when it comes to a reflective practice as they help care workers provide the same quality of care across the service. You need to know the standards to understand what is expected of you as a support worker, you should than reflect on them to make sure they are met in your every day work.