Reflective writing: Training and assessment (2016)

Type of publication:
Conference abstract

*Sizer, A; Chivers, C; Hayes, K; Khan, R

Volume 123, Issue S2. Special Issue: Top Scoring Abstracts of the RCOG World Congress 2016, 20–22 June 2016, ICC Birmingham, United Kingdom

Reflective writing is a mandatory component of the annual review of competence progression (ARCP) for UK trainees in Obstetrics & Gynaecology.

It is often commented at ARCP panels that the quality of reflective writing is poor, but if challenged, consultants often find it difficult to say why.

It has been commented the reflection is not an intuitive process for doctors and is a skill that needs to be learnt. However, there is no clear learning process in the curriculum and an internet search revealed no course or training session that was available in the UK.

A reflective writing workshop was developed in the West Midlands Deanery. This was part of the monthly Symposium teaching for trainees at ST3‐5 level. Prior to the workshop, trainees were asked to submit a representative piece of reflective writing from their ePortfolio that had been submitted in the past 6 months so that the particular case or situation that they had reflected on was still fresh in their memory.

The workshop took the following format:

  • Trainees were split into small groups with a facilitator. They were given three pre-written reflective pieces to discuss, one poor, one average and one good. Following the small group work there was feedback to the entire group.
  • The lead facilitator then gave a presentation on reflective writing and models of reflection, particularly focussing on Gibbs reflective cycle and Rolfe's framework of reflection.
  • Trainees were then asked to work on writing a reflective piece in small groups on a mock scenario using a reflective model. There was further feedback and analysis by the whole group.
  • For the final session each trainee was asked to rewrite the reflection that they had previously submitted.
  • In order to assess the reflections pre- and post- workshop we devised a simple scoring system to take into account the key points of the reflective process, namely structure (ie was any particular model followed), length of the descriptive component, and then a subjective assessment of the descriptive and analytical components as well as the action plan. This gave a score of 10 for each reflective piece.
  • The workshop was very well received by the trainees. Interestingly, feedback from the trainees suggested that consultants needed to develop skills in the assessment of reflection.
    Data will be presented on the workshop and scoring system, including qualitative feedback data.