Monday, 16 December 2013

Reflective Practice Pros and Cons

Reflective practice is about the process of thinking about your practice and taking personal responsibility for improving your professional skills. Reflection enables you to review the positive aspects of your own practice in order to build on your successes and to identify areas for improvement or further development.

What is Reflective practice : Reflective practice is the analysis of everyday working practices to improve practices and promote professional development. It involves critically analysing yours actions with the goal of improving yours professional practices.

Working in a professional manner needs a continuous process of reflection, which involves looking at your practices, ideas and actions, then evaluating their effectiveness in order to make improvements. Reflection stages are as follows –

Stage 1: Description of the event

Describe in detail the event you are reflecting on. Include where you were;who else was there; why were you there; what were you doing; what were other people doing; what the context of the event was; what happened; what your part in this was; what parts did the other people play; what was the result.

Stage 2: Feelings and Thoughts (Self awareness)

At this stage, try to recall and explore those things that were going on inside your head. Include:

  • How you were feeling when the event started?
  • What you were thinking about at the time?
  • How did it make you feel?
  • How did other people make you feel?
  • How did you feel about the outcome of the event?
  • What do you think about it now?

Stage 3: Evaluation

Try to evaluate or make a judgement about what has happened. Consider what was good about the experience and what was bad about the experience or what did or did not go so well.

Stage 4: Analysis

Break the event down into its component parts so they can be explored separately. You may need to ask more detailed questions about the answers to the last stage. Include:

  • What went well?
  • What did you do well?
  • What did others do well?
  • What went wrong or did not turn out how it should have done?
  • In what way did you or others contribute to this?

Stage 5: Conclusion 

This differs from the evaluation stage in that now you have explored the issue from different angles and have a lot of information to base your judgement. It is here that you are likely to develop insight into you own and other people’s behaviour in terms of how they contributed to the outcome of the event. Remember the purpose of reflection is to learn from an experience. Without detailed analysis and honest exploration that occurs during all the previous stages, it is unlikely that all aspects of the event will be taken into account and therefore valuable opportunities for learning can be missed. During this stage you should ask yourself what you could have done differently.

Stage 6: Action Plan 

During this stage you should think yourself forward into encountering the event again and to plan what you would do – would you act differently or would you be likely to do the same?

Why is reflective practice so important?

Reflecting on your practice can enhance and improve your confidence and self esteem because you can look at what you are doing well, the things you have learnt and achieved and feel good about yourself especially if you have done something with ease that you used to find difficult or if you have done something good you never thought you would do. This then gives you confidence to continue working well and to aim to try other new things or to use what new skills or knowledge you have gained in your practice. As a social care worker you are responsible for providing care to the best of your ability to service user and their families. You need to focus on your knowledge, skills and behaviour to ensure that you are able to meet the demands made on you by this commitment.

Reflective practice is part of the requirement for social care worker constantly to update professional skills. Keeping a portfolio or plan or action offers considerable opportunity for reflection on ongoing development. Supervision and reviews enable you to identify strengths and areas of opportunity for future development.

You should consider the ways in which you interact and communicate with your colleagues, service user and other professionals. The profession depends on a culture of mutual support. You should aim to become self-aware, self-directing and in touch with any environment.

Quality and effective service delivery is about providing a service in the best possible way. It is about anticipating, conforming to and sometimes exceeding the clients’ expectations and requirements

Maintaining the effectiveness of service

In maintaining the effectiveness of the service, either at a service provider or individual worker level, it is essential to be clear on what the quality standards are and how they should be put into practice, and to monitor and regularly review how the service is performing in relation to those standards.

When you will reflect on your practice and evaluate them, you may bring some significant change in your practice to improve quality of individual’s life and service provision.

Some services arrange a process called a ‘self-assessment’, where each year they compare staff and client views on how they meet the standards. This information is combined and together, staff and clients decide on some actions for improving the service for the following year.

You will have to follow the codes of conduct and practice what is set out by government and your organisation In order to provide effective quality service.

As a social care worker you will have criteria to guide your practice and be clear about what standards of conduct you are expected to meet. You are encouraged to use the codes to examine your own practice and to look for areas in which you can improve.

To work accordance with codes of practice and conduct a social care worker must :

      Protect the rights and promote the interests of service users and carers

·         Strive to establish and maintain the trust and confidence of service users and carers

·         Promote the independence of service users while protecting them as far as possible from danger or harm

·         Respect the rights of service users while seeking to ensure that your behaviour does not harm them or other people

·         Uphold public trust and confidence in social care services

·       Be accountable for the quality of their work and take responsibility for maintaining and improving their knowledge and skills.

Remember, you will have to comply with general codes of practice and conduct in your reflective practice or including your reflective practice in order to provide better quality services.

Checklist to evaluate practice :

  • How did you approach your work?
  • Was your approach positive?
  • How did the way you worked affect the service users? 
  • How did the way you worked affect your colleague?
  • Which was the best aspect of the work you did?
  • Which was the worst aspect of the work you did?
  • Are there any areas in which you could improve?
  • What are they and how you will you tackle them?       
---------------------------------- Foisal Talukdar

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