Reflective Practice

Reflective practice is, in its simplest form, thinking about or reflecting midwifery practice. It is closely linked to the concept of learning from experience, in that you think about what you did, and what happened, and decide from that what you would do differently next time. Thinking about what has happened is part of being human. However, the difference between casual ‘thinking’ and ‘reflective practice’ is that reflective practice requires a conscious effort to think about events and develop insights into them.

The purpose of reflecting on your midwifery practice is to build a better understanding of your professional actions, and to develop professionally by using this knowledge to modify and adapt practice. It also assists you to demonstrate your competence to practice in relation to the Scope of Practice and Competencies for Entry to the Register of Midwives.

Methods of Reflective Practice

  • Journaling: This usually involves keeping a personal and professional diary, which is private and doesn’t have to be shown to anyone unless a midwife chooses to.

  • Critical incident or exemplar: An exemplar is a clinical situation in which professional skills as a midwife were instrumental in affecting an outcome for a woman and/or her baby, or of value to a midwife’s professional growth and development. Think of a story that was especially meaningful to you as a midwife, a story that helped shape your practice.

  • Further information and tips on reflective practice can be found in the Portfolio for Midwives.