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Reflective practice - in practice

Thank goodness spring is nearly here!! I struggle through winter, particularly December and January, and it always seems such a difficult thing to admit around Christmas time. Anyway, that is all behind us and as I look out of my sitting room window the February sun is warm and welcoming.

Over the last few weeks I have had to face a hang-up that I hadn't fully explored before. I was asked to teach some medical students and I realised that I had "issues" about their privileged position and their future prospects. This impacted on my teaching in the first session and I had to give myself a good talking to when I realised I felt intimidated and had an inferiority complex. I also had begun to feel quite unwell and had delayed contacting the surgery, as I knew I would have to wait for an appointment or negotiate one (none of that felt possible the way I was feeling).

When I contacted the surgery they were very helpful and I got an appointment for that evening. My GP was lovely and I was so glad she was there to help me face up to how awful I was feeling. Both of these experiences highlighted to me how deeply ambivalent I feel about the medical profession and I knew I needed to face up to this if I am:
a) to continue to be an effective teacher and
b) get the most from my GP's help when I need it.  

It made me realise that often feelings of discomfort and unease are an indication of something further that needs to be explored. It brought to mind all the teaching I've ever done about reflective practice and how I am always encouraging practitioners to take a second look at their practice and themselves to ensure they continue to develop in their work. It also reminded me of why I left clinical practice and came into higher education as I often got frustrated at not being listened to in meetings and when changes in service delivery were discussed.

Both of these things have made me think about how hard it might be for practitioners to reflect on their practice. It isn't always an easy thing to do and it certainly isn't always a comfortable journey. It made me also think about leadership issues in nursing and how important role models can be in allowing us to explore issues in practice. I now know that you need to find time to talk to colleagues and then honestly explore what bugs you about what you do. Call it supervision or support, but it can make such a difference to how you function at work and make a difference to your sense of wellbeing.

At this moment in time I am very grateful to my honest colleagues who also shared their reactions about our recent teaching and also to my GP for being a skilled and able listener and allowing me to tell her how I was feeling.