Date posted: January 18, 2012

Karen Mann Æ Jill Gordon Æ Anna MacLeod

The importance of reflection and reflective practice are frequently noted in the literature; indeed, reflective capacity is regarded by many as an essential characteristic for professional competence.

Educators assert that the emergence of reflective practice is part  of a change that acknowledges the need for students to act and to think professionally as an  integral part of learning throughout their courses of study, integrating theory and practice  from the  outset. Activities to  promote reflection are now  being incorporated  into under- graduate,  postgraduate  and  continuing  medical  education,  and across  a  variety  of  health professions.

The evidence to support and inform these curricular interventions and innovations remains largely theoretical. Further, the literature is dispersed across several fields, and it is unclear which approaches may have efficacy or impact. We, therefore, designed a literature review to evaluate the existing evidence about reflection and reflective practice  and  their  utility  in  health  professional  education.

Our  aim  was  to  understand  the  key variables influencing this educational process, identify gaps in the evidence, and to explore  any implications for educational practice and research.

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