Lessons from medical students' perceptions of learning reflective skills: A multi-institutional study

Pirashanthie Vivekananda-Schmidt*, Michelle Marshall, Patsy Stark, Jean McKendree, John Sandars, Sarah Smithson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

43 Citations (Scopus)


Background: A core competency during undergraduate medical training is the development of reflective learning. The current literature is limited to demonstrating how reflective learning has been implemented or the approaches to its development. There is a lack of insight into students' perceptions of reflection and the factors that support development of reflective practice. Bridging this gap may provide insight into how reflective learning within the curriculum can be better developed to increase engagement from learners. Methods: Eight focus group interviews with second year students from four UK medical schools were held. Results were thematically analysed. Key findings: Students have a high level of understanding of the purpose of reflection in practice but they perceive that there is a tension between public and private reflections. Assessment of the reflective process was perceived to be useful for developing reflective skills but grading of their reflective writing was not considered to be useful. Staff who champion the development of reflective skills and mentor students were perceived to play key roles in aiding the development of reflective skills. Appropriate experiences were seen to be a key part of developing reflective skills. Conclusion: These findings highlight potential ways to revise and improve engagement with the reflective learning components of undergraduate courses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)846-850
Number of pages5
JournalMedical Teacher
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 31 Oct 2011


  • medical students


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