Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Reflective Practice

The traditional learning environment of pharmacy school has come to an end. Gone are the days of didactic lectures.

As I begin my first Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experience (APPE) at mdBriefCase, I quickly realized that the working environment requires learning from others in a different way. In order to succeed, I must adopt the skill of Reflective Practice.

So, what is Reflective Practice and why is it important? Reflective Practice involves “paying critical attention to the meaning behind everyday actions, leading to developmental insights” (Bolton, 2010).  In a traditional educational environment, I found reflective practice to be less important, as I essentially downloaded the information that was presented to me. However, the professional working environment is cluttered with ambiguity. If you combine this with the human propensity to “feel first” and “think after”, you have a recipe for disaster. As such, Reflective Practice is essential in order to mentally organize my environment, and more importantly learn from it.

Now that I have explained the importance behind Reflective Practice, how am I going to actually perform it?  One model that has been proposed is Gibbs’ model of reflection (1988). It begins with a description of an event that has happened, and the associated thoughts and feelings during that event. This is followed by an evaluation of the experience, outlining both the positive and negative aspects. Through evaluation, analyzing the situation and attempting to make sense of what happened, will guide me to a conclusion and subsequent action plan. At this point, I can begin to reflect on what else I could have done in the same situation, what I can do if the situation happens again in the future, and what I can learn and take away from this experience.

My personal developmental challenge: make the leap from practicing reflection, to reflective practice. Reflect in such a way that will bring me new found knowledge and understanding.


  1. Bolton, G. Reflective Practice: Writing and Professional Development (3rd Edition). Los Angeles: Sage, 2010.
  2. Austin, Zubin. “Reflective Practice.” University of Toronto, Leslie L. Dan Faculty of Pharmacy. Toronto, Ontario. 04. May 2015.  Lecture.