Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the most reflective practitioner of all?

I hold my hands up.  I could be much more reflective in my professional practice.  I could also strive harder to be evidence-informed.  Oh dear, here comes a limb that I fell the need to totter out onto.  I’m going to suggest that as a profession we could do more to encourage reflective practice and remaining up-to-date and evidence-informed.  I do have some evidence of my own to substantiate this statement:  I used to serve on the (now superseded) CILIP Assessment Panel that assessed applications for Certification and Revalidation.  I found that many candidates had difficulty demonstrating the necessary level of critical evaluation of either their own performance or the performance of their organisation.

Why do we find critical reflection and evaluation so hard?  Is it because, unless encouraged to do so by our organisation or professional body, we don’t do it enough?  Other professions are much further along this particular road, I’m thinking in particular of the health and social care sector.  Nurses for example are tightly regulated with regards returning to work after a career break (Returning to practice as a nurse).

Have you seen this suggestion coming?  If our professional body made certification, chartership and continuing revalidation compulsory, then we would all make time for C.P.D (Continuing Professional Development).  Our employers might even see the need to support us through this continuing process.  As a result we could perhaps all get better at critical reflection and evaluation and be more evidence informed.

What do you think?  Did I loose you at compulsory? I’m certainly not suggesting that we divorce all responsibility for our own C.P.D.  Look at us lot, we’ve chosen to do cpd23.  We’ve made time to stop, reflect and evaluate.  However, I suggest that we would be much, much more likely to do this regularly if our professional bodies and/or our workplaces strongly encouraged us to do so.  Do you need a reason?  It’s fun.  A better reason, one that will impact upon the bottom-line?  It might save our organisations money?  Need evidence for this?  I think that proving that CPD is cost effective is difficult:  Cost effectiveness of continuing professional development in health care: a critical review of the evidence.

However, my gut reaction is that if I were to:

  • develop skills in reflective practice
  • develop the ability to critically evaluate
  • commit to being evidence-informed

it’s unlikely to make me a less efficient librarian.   And do I do any reflective practice? I do.  There this old blog.  And if I do anything for work, I’ve had a think, and I’m a four-step person:

  1. Pre-event pep-talk – ask myself what I want to get out of the session and what it might mean for my workplace
  2. Go do – and document there and then
  3. Post-match analysis – ask myself what I learnt and document this.  Implement any changes to my working practices that are required
  4. Cascade or disseminate – to whoever I think might find it useful
It’s pretty similar to a process that was in place in a previous workplace.  It was necessary to do 1 and 3 with your line manager and I think 4 involved putting a document in a shared area.  Must have been good because I’ve carried on doing it for myself.  Being all reflective as we are, I think that I could probably do 4 more systematically.
So after all that, I wonder who is the most reflective practitioner of all?

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