A Model for Using Reflection to Enhance Interprofessional Education

Yadolah Zarezadeh, Pauline Pearson, Clair Dickinson


Both Reflective Practice and Interprofessional Education (IPE) have gained a considerable attention in the past three decades. Although a plethora of literature exists on either topic, few articles address the issue of using reflective techniques to enhance IPE (King &Ross, 2003; Ross et al, 2005; Goosey & Barr, 2002; Craddock, O'Halloran, Borthwick, & McPherson, 2006) and fewer provide a model to achieve this.

 The aim of this article is to propose a simple model for employing reflection in the context of healthcare education to enhance the outcomes of shared learning occasions. This model encourages a “reflective dialogue” (Shon, 1987) between two components of self (I and Me) on “self” and on “self and others” from a symbolic interactionism’s view (Blumer, 1996).

 This model is based the findings of the corresponding author’s PhD project on “the teaching and learning reflective practice in medicine, nursing and physiotherapy” (Zarezadeh, 2009).Using symbolic interactionism as an interpretivist theoretical perspective, this study adopted a grounded theory methodology (Glaser & Strauss, 1967). A hermeneutic approach (Gadamer, 1975; Van Manen, 1990) informed both the theoretical perspective and the methodology of this study. Semi-structured interviews with students and teachers, non- participant observations and student’s reflective assignments and diaries were the main methods of data collection.

 In addition to the findings of the above PhD project this model is based on the literature of reflection and IPE particularly considering the aims of IPE such as improving services (Wilcock & Headrick, 2000), reducing “failure in trust and communication between professions,” and modifying “negative attitudes and perceptions” (Carpenter, 1995).

The model offers a structure for reflection in three personal, professional, and interprofessional levels, considering the organisational context and the culture of patient –centeredness. In each level a set of questions guide the reflections in such a way that insights gained in different levels relate to and inform each other. The outcome of reflection using this structure is awareness about “self,” roles and responsibilities, the meanings of these concepts for self, and emotions evoked in the personal level. This awareness is achieved in the professional level when an individual reflects on assumptions, identity, role, and importance of his/her profession. Finally, guided reflections on issues such as the role and importance of other professions, opportunities of learning with and from them, and their importance generate a higher level of awareness that encompasses the broader context of patient care.

Keywords: Interprofessional Education, Reflective Practice, Reflective Learning, Model 


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5296/ije.v1i1.191

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