What is reflective writing?
Reflective writing is writing which involves '… consideration of the larger context, the meaning, and the implications of an experience or action' (Branch & Paranjape, 2002, p. 1185). Often you are required to produce reflective writing in order to learn from educational and practical experiences, and to develop the habit of critical reflection as a future health professional. Reflective writing may be based on:
• description and analysis of a learning experience within the course: o a reading review
o the essay framework exercise
o discipline exercises
• description and analysis of a past experience
• review of your learning or course to that point
• description and analysis of a specific learning experience.
What is a 'Specific experience?
A specific experience need not be a dramatic event: usually it is an incident which has significance for you. It is often an event which made you stop and think, or one that raised questions for you. It may have made you question an aspect of your beliefs, values, attitude or behaviour. It is an incident which in some way has had a significant impact on your personal and professional learning. In the university setting, a specific experience might include: • an aspect of your team work that went particularly well • an aspect of your team work that proved difficult
• a piece of work that you found particularly demanding • a piece of work which increased your awareness, or challenged your understanding, of social justice issues; or • an incident involving conflict, hostility, aggression or criticism (Fook & Cooper, 2003). Such incidents may relate to issues of communication, knowledge, treatment, culture, relationships, emotions or beliefs.
Critical incident analysis
When analysing an incident, it is useful to ask yourself questions such as: • Why do I view the event or situation like that?
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