Why is reflective practice important for the development of GP trainees?

Reflective Practice is now widely recognised as essential for the development of ‘expertise’ in many professions. It encourages the integration of experience with academic knowledge to work towards the practical knowledge needed for everyday practice, which is not covered in textbooks.

The GMC publication ‘Tomorrow’s Doctors’ in 2001 was a key driver for the incorporation of reflective teaching and practice in undergraduate medical curricula; however, few GPStRs will have benefited from this approach as undergraduate courses have only recently changed and also many GPStRs do not enter GP training via a direct route from recent UK medical degrees. Protecting time and resources for registrars to acquire the knowledge and necessary skills and attitudes underpinning reflective practice in a safe and supported environment is a very important priority for Vocational Training. This will often consolidate and build on the work done by supervisors and trainers.

Desired Outcome

Graduates of the Sheffield GPSTP will become Independent Reflective Practitioners who continue to acquire expertise throughout their professional lives and maintain lifelong learning.

Aims of the Reflective Groups

To help GPStRs acquire the knowledge and develop the skills and attitudes necessary for Reflective Practice in a safe and supported environment thorough small group work and participation in Reflective Learning Groups at each GPSTP Day Release.


GPStRs will:

  • Develop self-awareness and be able to recognise uncomfortable thoughts and feelings.
  • Recognize, recollect and accurately describe salient events and key features of these experiences.
  • Examine the components of a situation, identifying existing knowledge (and its relevance), examining feelings, challenging assumptions and imagining and exploring alternatives.
  • Use the reflective process to direct learning, change conceptual perspectives and ultimately improve practice.
  • Learn to identify their strengths and weaknesses both professionally and personally.
  • Acquire skills to challenge their motivation, attitudes and ideas.
  • Learn to work through negative feelings to empower them to re-evaluate experiences to change behaviours.
  • Understand the diversity of views and experiences that others bring to a group and how these may be used effectively.
  • Begin to learn something about how groups work and how they as an individual work in groups.