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Research at St Andrews

Developing reflective writing skills in medical students

Research output: Contribution to conferencePoster


Julie Struthers, James Fortune Aiton

School/Research organisations


The importance of reflection and the ability to write reflectively has been highlighted by the selection processes for junior doctors, as part of the ‘modernising medical careers’ (UK). In order to lay the foundation for our students understanding of reflection in practice we provide early exposure to reflective writing in the curriculum.

We have created a series of practical tasks designed to improve students’ reflective writing. Each semester, students complete two reflective pieces linked to specific learning experiences. These progressively more demanding tasks include reflecting on early experiences of medicine and later address more challenging and complex issues encountered by the students. Each reflective piece contributes to their electronic portfolio and is reviewed by their personal tutor.

Students have benefited from a more formal and practical approach taken towards encouraging reflection. The improvement in the reflective process can be seen in the written reflections added to the portfolios. Staff have been impressed by the quality of the reflective writing and many students show a mature and self critical approach to their learning and experiences.

Providing students with progressively more demanding opportunities to reflect on their learning experiences has vastly improved their reflective writing skills.


Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 27 Aug 2007
EventAMEE Conference 2007 - Trondheim, Norway
Duration: 25 Aug 200729 Aug 2007


ConferenceAMEE Conference 2007

    Research areas

  • reflection, reflective writing

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