Dialogue-with-self : reflective learning for the professional development of postgraduate pharmacists

Black, Patricia Elizabeth (2006). Dialogue-with-self : reflective learning for the professional development of postgraduate pharmacists. EdD thesis The Open University.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.21954/ou.ro.0000c009

Abstract

The aim of this study was to explore learning, and dialogue-with-self in facilitating reflection on learning and professional practice, with postgraduate pharmacists.

The study was set in the context of a Prescribing Course for pharmacists where the participants were exposed to a systematic reflective learning approach that was new to them as learners, and which was facilitated by a structured written Reflective Portfolio.

Data were generated from a phenomenological study that included focus groups and individual interviews as the methods of enquiry. The inductive approach to data collection and analysis generated a Model of Reflection that has not previously been described that illustrates the complexities of reflective learning. The study therefore challenges the simplicity with which 'reflection' has generally been portrayed in the literature, and indicates why students and practitioners may experience difficulties with it. It is proposed that the research provides a significant contribution to the understanding of reflection for learning and professional practice development since this Model of Reflection is arguably transferable or relatable to other health professions and other disciplines.

This study has confirmed that postgraduate pharmacy students perceive learning in ways that are compatible with existing published literature, particularly that relating to deep and surface approaches to learning, and that they perceive reflective learning to be analogous with a deep learning approach.

The study challenges the notion expressed in the literature that reflective dialogue-with-others through face-to-face interaction is essential for learners to develop their skill in reflection and applying it to professional practice. The study has shown that reflection for learning and practice is achievable by pharmacists principally through dialogue-with-self using the medium of a structured written portfolio that facilitates systematic reflection.

The study has also raised questions about the Royal Pharmaceutical Society's model for continuing professional development (CPD), and provides some insight into the apparent mistrust that pharmacists have of it and their professional body. Therefore, this research also has implications for the Pharmacy regulator's policy and recommended practice regarding CPD.

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