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A methodology to identify workplace features that can facilitate or impede reflective practice: a National Health Service UK study

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An increasing number of academic and professional development programmes engender reflective practice. There is little doubt that participants leave such programmes equipped and keen to utilize reflective practice in their own workplace practices. There is evidence to suggest however that the workplace itself may conspire to limit the extent to which reflection is practised. Reflecting at a meta-level upon why and how reflective practice is inhibited may be valuable in helping reflective practitioners secure more widespread reflection at work. This paper reports a methodology for an exploration of the workplace features of a National Health Service (NHS) manager's job that determined the ‘reflective space' in his work sphere. The study involved a provisional classification of work events where reflection was notably high or low and the subsequent use of the repertory grid procedure to elicit the personal constructs of this notion of reflective space. A principal components analysis and factor analysis of the repertory grid data indicated five major characteristics of the reflective practitioner's workplace that can inhibit or facilitate reflective practice. These were the degrees of prescriptiveness; engagement; role-based, demarcated and political features; threat; and task versus process orientation. A discussion of the implications of these findings and the potential of the methodology is held.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: University of Central England, UK 2: Dudley NHS Trust, UK

Publication date: May 1, 2005

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