Quote from MM2007
Hello everyone, i am just coming towards the end of an essay based on the advantages and disadvantages of reflective practice and its benefits to patients. So far i have the advantage that it improves the quality of patient, what else tho ?
In ANY job, you must avoid over-confidence. If you think you know everything, do everything perfectly, don't need to ask questions, you are certainly making mistakes. In dealing with patients, these mistakes can have unpleasant consequences.
I would think that there is a "balancing act" between questioning yourself too much (did I do this right...did I do that right?), versus not questioning yourself enough. If you don't ask questions about how you might improve, you're "stuck in a rut", and will likely never improve.
This "constant improvement" ("Kaizen" to those familiar with Japanese quality systems) is applicable to many aspects of your job. Not only direct patient care, but also paperwork, how you handle samples to avoid errors, process improvement,...
As a paramedic (and accelerated nursing student as of 6/07), I find myself asking after a run "what could I have done better?". If the answer is "nothing", and you've HONESTLY looked at the situation, then so be it. Reflection offers you the opportunity to do your job better, detect problems faster, communicate important facts more clearly/in a more timely manner.
By reflecting after the fact, it enables you to run more on "autopilot" if you face the same situation again. Rather than being a total newbie in each situation, worrying about each & every step, it enables you to step back & focus more on the "big picture", and in doing so, it frees you up to detect serious issues that you might otherwise have missed.
As to the negatives of reflection, you've got to be careful that you don't question yourself too much. There's a fine line between being overconfident and being wishy-washy. It's good to ask "how could I do better", but not good to waste too much time doing that if there is no real opportunity for improvements. To question yourself ("reflect") too much leads to being hesitant, fearful of making a mistake, worrying "what if I do something wrong". To swing too far the other way results in you becoming an egotistical "I can do no wrong" uncaring, unobservant, "cookie cutter" caregiver. Either extreme has its own dangers. As with many things in life, it's a balancing act between paralysis on one extreme and uncaring chaos on the other.