Doctors are committed to life-long learning, both in and from their practice, which includes repeated clinical experience. As a foundation doctor, you need to develop your critical thinking and your professional judgement, especially where there is clinical uncertainty. The skill of reflecting on your practice (performance) is vital in gaining a sense of how a method or actions can be improved upon when similar situations arise.

Foundation doctors should make reflection a part of their routine practice. When a doctor reflects, and discusses this with a senior colleague, it provokes enriched deeper learning and critical thinking that leads to improvement in practice. Foundation doctors should reflect on and learn from both their positive and negative experiences to demonstrate professional development.

Reflection is more than just a description of what’s happened; it is a systematic process of careful consideration and analysis of previous experiences and actions, a skill that does not come naturally. This is the tricky bit which needs practice so that you can develop and apply standards (the research evidence) to your performance, and identify your own learning needs. This will help you develop skills, understanding and clinical acumen to improve what you actually do!

Non-urgent advice: General resources

GMC (Continuing professional development):

Examples of reflection

Produced jointly by the Academy (AoMRC), the Conference of Postgraduate Medical Deans (COPMED), the General Medical Council (GMC) and the Medical Schools Council (MSC)):

Reflective practice toolkit – summary

Reflective practice toolkit

UKFPO resources

Reflective practice material can be recorded in your portfolio and used as example of learning development. You can decide if a reflective record is to remain private or you can share it with your supervisors (note that private reflections will not be visible to your supervisors or the ARCP panel). Be mindful of the need to ensure confidentiality of individuals involved in the experience. You can use the e-portfolio template (below) to record your reflections in a variety of styles.

Non-urgent advice: UKFP e-portfolio reflection form