Development of a template to facilitate reflection among student pharmacists

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Research in Social and Administrative Pharmacy, 2018, 14 (11), pp. 1058 - 1063
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© 2017 Background: Reflective practice activities utilizing appropriate tools enhance learning during and after experiential placements. Reflective tools described in the literature, used to support students on traditional placements of a duration of at least two weeks, sit at the unstructured end of a continuum (completely unstructured to just minimal structure). Additionally, non-traditional settings in role-emerging placements are of value as an alternative for experiential education. There were no reflective tools in the literature to provide a means of supporting pharmacy students as novice reflectors in non-traditional settings. Objectives: To develop one fit-for-purpose tool that students could utilize across their experiences, regardless of type or duration of experiential placement. Methods: A multi-phased approach was adopted, including a mix of methodologies: interviews, focus groups, informal feedback from stakeholders, and grading reflective accounts utilizing Mezirow's categories of reflection. A range of stakeholders were involved at each stage to ensure the reflective tool was fit-for-purpose. These included students, placement preceptors, and academic staff acting as graders of student reflective accounts. Results: A total of 24 students participated in focus groups, 13 supervisors/preceptors engaged in interviews and informal feedback, and 853 student reflective accounts were graded, over 3 years. The final tool that has been developed and evaluated in this research supported students to develop to critical reflectors (6% - Phase 2 increased to 62.9% - Phase 3). Conclusions: This novel and innovative approach supports novice reflectors, encourages reflection on action and enhances professional development. It is a structured yet flexible tool, for which there was a gap in the published literature. It can be utilized in varied placements in pharmacy curricula internationally.
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