When students are encouraged to reflect on their practice during placement educators are supporting the students learning and development of professional reasoning skills. 

Reflective practice is an active process and has been described as a ‘form of mental processing—like a form of thinking— that we use to fulfil a purpose to achieve some anticipated outcome. It is applied to relatively complicated or unstructured ideas for which there is not an obvious solution and is largely based on the further processing of knowledge and understanding and possibly emotions that we already possess’ (Moon 2001, p. 2).

The capacity to reflect is a defining characteristic of professional practice (Shon, 1983) and reflection and evidence informed practice form a partnership.  Professionals need to reflect on evidence to underpin, guide and/or change practice and they need to guide reflection with evidence to reduce risk of ‘naïve’ repetition of same misinformed practice.   Overall reflection on practice supports client centred and goal directed care and is essential to learning from experience.

Video: Promoting Reflective Practice

Reflective practice is essential to the learning and skill development process. OT students are well-trained to reflect on practice and adapt accordingly. Embedding this process within a placement can be tricky. In this video, Jodie Copley proposes some methods to do just that.

Resources: Guides to support reflective practice and to facilitate the reflective practice of students have been developed and some examples are available here to support the use of reflective practice for the education of students on placement.

OTCEP Reflective Practice Guide