Self-reflection – The “why’s” and “how’s”
By far, self-reflection is the part of the Continuing Competence Program (CCP) with which some members have the most difficulty. But you are not alone.
Did you know that self-reflection is required in all professional development for the 29 Health Colleges mandated under the Health Professions Act in Alberta? Self-reflection is legislated in the Medical Diagnostic and Therapeutic Technologists Profession Regulation (the Regulations). Section 13(2)(c) of the Regulations states that members, as part of their reflective practice review, must provide a written evaluation of the result of their learning.
By nature, MRTs and ENPs are professionals who “do and get the job done” – whether that be a clinical procedure, an educational lesson plan or a management task. What we don’t do, in order to do our jobs safely, competently and ethically, is go more than a day without learning.
A hurdle that the technologist faces in self-reflection is first and foremost recognizing that learning has taken place. We do, because we have to and we want to, and figuring out how to get that job done is part of our makeup – but we don’t always give ourselves enough credit for the learning aspect of our jobs. With the changes in technology and the differing requests of those we work with, it is imperative that we are constantly adjusting and adapting to what is required of us. What we don’t often realize is that adjusting and adapting is a result of learning.
Once we have recognized that we have undergone learning, we have to figure out what to do with the newly acquired knowledge. Sometimes this is quite straightforward and sometimes this requires some deep thought and creative problem solving. Either way, we will get to an endpoint. The transition from learning to the endpoint is what the self-reflection is based upon. How has the learning affected what you have done or may do in the future?
When writing your self-reflection, come from a personal perspective and explain how the learning has impacted your own practice. Make it personal. It always helps to give examples of how you have already used the learning or may in the future use the learning to develop your practice.
It may also help to use key phrases such as “I have used this information to…”, “I am now able to implement best practice because…” or “This helped me recognize…” All these phrases start you on the path of explaining how what you learned in the activity has influenced your practice either tangibly or in preparation for an action.
Your reflection does not have to be long or verbose, and is not an exercise in creative writing. What is does need to be is clear to the reader how what you learned affected what you did in your job.
Remember that the Competence Committee – the statutory committee comprised of your peers – monitors CCP compliance. The Competence Committee is made up of members from all five specialties that the College regulates. This means, that is if you are a radiological technologist, it could be an ENP or radiation therapist that is reading your reflection and assessing if what you learned has impact on your practice. If they have questions during the audit, they will always consult with the committee member from your specialty, but your writing still needs to be clear to anyone who is reading it. Remember that sometimes we don’t always write down what we are thinking. Or we think what we have written is clear because we know what we “meant to say”; but, this is not always the case.
The College strives to make the CCP process as simple and easy as we can while ensuring regulatory compliance. We are always here to assist you in meeting your CCP requirements. Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Dacia Richmond, Director of Education, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 780.487.6130 or 1.800.282.2165 ext 226.