Reflection from Day 1

Thinking on the sessions we heard today there are so many I could reflect upon. Actually, the very notion of reflection warrants its own attention. Listening to Gwen’s presentation I was struck by the intentionality of reflection. This is not something that comes naturally and demands concerted effort. When I think of a typical day in the office of seeing patients, we do not really carve out time for reflection on the day or a particular patient encounter. In fact, the end of the day is more marred by wrapping up the documentation, making it in time to the karate lesson, or a million other things that we need to get work ‘over with’ so we can move on the rest of the day. But what are the consequences of not reflecting? How do trainees conduct a daily debrief to support the wellbeing of the collective?

My own personal experience has shown me that those items that are not properly reflected upon will follow me into other aspects of my waking hours. The questions and statements that haunt you of “should I have done that differently?”, “I think I handled that poorly”, “wow that was a close call”, etc follow you into other aspects of your life, dividing your attention ineffectively between the task at hand and opportunity to healthily reflect on these interactions. Does this ineffective reflection lead to change or stagnation? I’d favor the latter.

I suppose my takeaway from the topic of reflection is that being intentional about reflection yields value on multiple levels. If we take the time to focus and reflect on the events of the day, what went well and what went poorly, we have the opportunity to realize growth and progress along the continuum of professional maturity and frank humility. If we don’t take the time, our inclinations as highly caring people with good intentions will not allow us to wrestle free of those doubts, we just will not use those to produce anything meaningful.