Reflective Practice [Explained]

In this micro lecture we’re going to talk about the process of reflective practice which allows a Paramedic to look back on their actions and to try and learn from the situation they just found themselves in.

In today’s micro lecture, we’re going to talk about the process of reflective practice.

Now as you know, paramedics are faced with demanding, uncontrollable, and hazardous situations on a daily basis….and of course, their ability to be able to stay safe and to keep the patient safe, as well as delivering a high level of quality care, very much does come down to the knowledge that they have and the experiences that they’ve had previously before treating that patient.

Now, if the paramedic is unwilling or unable to look back on their actions and to try and learn from their situation, then there’s less likely to be any learning or additional learning that’s taken place, and that can be a really dangerous place to be as a paramedic.

Just remember, that as a paramedic, you are dealing with the most sickest and vulnerable members of the community, and the patients really are putting their lives in your hands. So, it’s crucial that you develop a mindset and a willingness and an ability, all of those three things, to reflect on your performance, to look back, and to challenge yourself and to ask yourself;

“Could I have done anything differently?”

“What does the literature say I should have done or could have done?”

“Do my guidelines support what I could have done?”

And if not, “Where can I learn so that I don’t make the same actions?”

I’m going to avoid saying mistake because you may not have made a mistake, but you may not have done exactly the best thing according to the latest evidence.

Paramedic practice really is fast paced, and I just need to emphasise to you that reflective practice really is a personal thing to you and it doesn’t need to be shared with anybody else. Now, the way that I’ve undertaken reflective practice in the past, I’ve undertaken my role as a paramedic, responding to the 999 calls or the triple-zero calls, and then as I’ve reflected in action.

In other words, when I’m in the situation, I’m always asking;

“What can I do?”.

“Can anything be done better?”.

I’ll even say to my crew mate, “Is there anything else that I’ve missed?”.

Because, I’m a human being. I’m not a robot.

I make mistakes. Have I missed anything?

And then, when I finish the scenario, I will actively talk to my crew mates about it and ask them;

“What are your thoughts on that?”.

Now, on top of that, I will actually go away and reflect personally myself. I will do a literature search and I will follow a couple of different types of reflective practice models.

There’s a great model called the Gibbs’ Cycle, which is a 1988 model. It’s been around for quite some time. Started off in the nursing profession. By today’s standards, you can find your own models of reflective practice.

In fact, I have my own that were published in 2010, made specifically for paramedics, but whichever model you choose, choose one that you can actually work well with. Even if you don’t choose any reflective practice models, go away and do your homework.

Learn from the cases that you’ve attended. You can learn from everything from a sprained ankle and a cut finger, all the way through to the traumatic cardiac arrests.

I hope this reflective practice micro lecture has been useful for you (by the Australian Paramedical College).

Reflective Practice Paramedics


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