UK healthcare regulators unite in support of reflective practice

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UK healthcare regulators unite in support of reflective practice

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The General Dental Council, together with eight other healthcare statutory regulators in the UK, has released a statement encouraging multi-professional teams to regularly reflect on their work as a way of aiding development. (Photograph: buritora/Shutterstock)
Brendan Day, DTI

By Brendan Day, DTI

Fri. 21 June 2019

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LONDON, UK: The chief executives of nine of the UK’s healthcare statutory regulators have released a joint statement stressing the benefits and importance of becoming a reflective healthcare professional. Among those to sign off on the statement was Ian Brack, Chief Executive and Registrar of the General Dental Council (GDC).

Broadly speaking, reflection in a healthcare setting involves a self-assessment of professional experiences—both positive and negative—in order to aid skill development and identify areas that could be improved. By doing so, healthcare professionals can potentially deliver a higher quality of care to their patients.

The joint statement makes it clear that teams should be encouraged to make time for reflection as a way of aiding development, improving well-being and deepening professional commitment. In addition, it clarifies that patient confidentiality is vital and that registrants will never be asked to provide their own personal reflective notes in the investigation of a potential concern about them.

The chief executives of the GDC, the General Chiropractic Council, the General Medical Council, the General Optical Council, the General Osteopathic Council, the General Pharmaceutical Council, the Health and Care Professions Council, the Nursing and Midwifery Council, and the Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland all signed the statement.

“Reflection plays an important role in healthcare,” said Brack in a press release regarding the statement.

“Our recent research highlighted the importance of multi-professional teams coming together regularly to reflect when things go wrong and when things go right, and this is one of the things that we are going to be seeking views about when we consult on the future of lifelong learning for dental professionals in the early part of this summer,” he continued.

The British Association of Dental Nurses (BADN) welcomed the joint statement, yet expressed its concern about how little time dental nurses in the UK have to practice reflection. "The information in the joint statement is helpful in a broad sense, but dental nurses find it increasingly difficult to secure protected time in the workplace to implement effective reflective practice with colleagues," said Jacqui Elsden, BADN’s Education Representative and President-elect.

"BADN would therefore welcome further statements from the GDC advising employers to grant protected time to dental nurses and other registrants to complete regular peer review meetings, appraisals and also to meet their CPD requirements, to ensure that all registrants can develop meaningful life-long learning and a reflective journey to the benefit of patients," she continued.

The joint statement can be accessed through the GDC’s website.

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