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Poetry as a tool for reflection
  1. Elizabeth Osmond1,
  2. Anna Baverstock2,
  3. Eleanor Holmes3
  1. 1 Regional Neonatal Unit, University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust, Bristol, UK
  2. 2 Paediatrics, Somerset NHS Foundation Trust, Taunton, UK
  3. 3 TyneHealth GP Federation, Newcastle, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Elizabeth Osmond, Regional Neonatal Unit, University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust, Bristol, Bristol, UK; elizabeth.osmond{at}

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Reflection using poetry

Importance of reflective practice in healthcare

Reflective practice is that ability to reflect on one’s actions so as to engage in a process of continual learning.

Donald Schon.1

The General Medical Council (GMC) guide to Good Medical Practice states that doctors must contribute to and comply with systems to protect patients. One element of this is regular reflection on the standards of practice and the care an individual doctor provides. However, many clinicians find recording their reflections in a meaningful way can be a challenge.

Reflection is personal and there is no one way to reflect.

The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges2

The purpose of this article is not to convert every reader to become a poet or poetry lover, but to stimulate thought and discussion around a novel method for reflective practice.

Barriers to reflective writing

As busy clinicians, paediatricians need reassurance that precious professional development time is used effectively. Many doctors also receive little training in reflective writing, although guidance has been produced by the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges.2

After a high-profile UK court case, many paediatric doctors feared that their reflective writing could be used against them. The Royal College of Paediatrics …

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  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.