Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Reflection - a radical concept?

courtesy iStockPhotos
Last week I was part of an interviewing panel for a new first grade teacher at my daughter's school. I love to participate in things like these as I get a first hand view of another manager's interviewing process which inevitably helps my own hiring strategies.

First, we spent time bringing clarity to the job role and determining the questions that would uncover the right person, right fit for the job. Always time well-spent and very insightful to hear different stakeholders' perspectives. Then after the interviews we discussed our interpretations of the candidates' answers and body language and debated merits and drawbacks. Again, another insightful activity.

There was one point in the lively post-interview debate that caught my attention. It was pointed out that a candidate might be too entrenched in her ways and may not be sufficiently reflective to notice when curriculum changes are necessary to enhance student learning. Apparently, teachers in this school are expected to be self-reflective. It is seen as a valued and critical skill necessary for effective teaching.

What a concept! How often do we, as health care professionals, spend time reflecting how we are conversing with our patients? We are teachers too yet do we give sufficient thought to our "curriculum" or typical education points? Just how well are our current strategies working for us? Yes, we might lament that patient X just doesn't get it or that patient Y is resistant to change. But that isn't self-reflection about the things that we are doing or the things we can change.

Just remember when reflecting on your own teaching style, information-sharing techniques, and patient skill-building strategies it is necessary to do it from a results-perspective: how well are your patients doing under your current education strategy? As one of my colleagues would always say when working with a resistant patient spending lots of time justifying inaction "and just how well is that working for you?"


  1. When psych professionals train, they do something like 3000 hrs of supervised practice. Counseling/teaching clients in nutrition IS a form of therapy. I think we need that same kind of supervision from wise mentors. I've aquired some wisdom over the years, but still need a wise mentor. Hmmmmmm.....

  2. Yes, I agree.... we do need that same kind of supervision or wise mentoring. I got some in my internship (videotaping sessions etc) but nothing formal after that. In some of the long term NIH studies, e.g. TODAY study (sort of the DPP for teens), the RDs do get that level of supervision. Sessions are taped and reviewed by a PysD.