How do we integrate knowledge into Practice?
One way of integrating knowledge and practice is through reflection. Engaging in reflective practice is associated with the improvement of the quality of care, stimulating personal and professional growth and closing the gap between theory and practice. Reflection is ‘an active process which develops self awareness and learning; and enhances professional expertise by enabling the practitioner to undertake joined-up thinking i.e. turning conscious thought into action resulting in a desirable change in behaviour and practice” (Burton, 2000).
Reflection can assist professionals to;
- analyse complex and challenging situations
- consider the way you make decisions
- make connections between your non-work activities and your practice
- make it more likely that you will put what you have learned into practice
- Improve your problem solving skills
- Identify future learning needs
Reflection is not merely a record of something that happened – it involves deeper analysis in order for a professional to learn and make changes to their practice. Documenting reflections gives structure to thoughts and will allow this deeper learning. It also gives the process further integrity. Documentation will also provide an accurate record of a learning activity and evidence of engaging in same.