Triggering the Art of Written Reflection in Medical Students
Keywords:Reflections, Social accountability
Critical reflection and reflective practice are essential skills for learning in the health professions. The Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences, Sevagram is a community-oriented medical school in Central India. One of their curricular innovations is the village adoption initiative where each batch of students adopts a village. Each student is allotted three to five families, who they follow up with for the next three and a half years. In order to make this exercise more purposeful, we taught the students how to write reflections. Samples of good reflective writing were shared. They were encouraged to be observant during the course of the social service camp and write their reflections daily.
Writing reflections helped the students to focus on the task at hand. Journal writing stimulated them to think about issues beyond disease. Samples of reflective writing showed that the experience altered students’ understanding of the cultural, economic, and social context of health. Students also found this exercise useful in clarifying their own purpose of choosing a medical career. Introducing students to the art of reflection early in their course alters the way in which they approach their patients. It also inculcates professionalism in their manner.
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