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Med Teach. 2015 Jul;37(7):696-699. doi: 10.3109/0142159X.2015.1029897. Epub 2015 Apr 21.

Refining a definition of reflection for the being as well as doing the work of a physician.

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a Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University , USA.



Reflection is core to professional competency and supports the active, constructive process of professional identity formation.


Medical educators thus grapple with operationalizing and effectively integrating reflection as a foundational construct within health care professions education and practice.


Core elements of reflection including role of emotions and awareness of self, other and situation, do not appear within various working definitions of reflection.


This observation as well as noted recent shift in medical education toward emphasis on the "being" as well as "doing the work" of a physician led to the author's proposed refining of Sandars' reflection definition and expansion of Nguyen et al.'s reflection model.


A refined reflection definition is offered for a more inclusionary approach. A caveat regarding potential for expected reflective learning outcomes (given reflection as a process) is provided and the integral role of mentor-enhanced reflection is discussed. Reflection as a continuum is highlighted and exemplified within Wald et al.'s REFLECT rubric and Nguyen et al.'s reflection model.

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