The use of reflection in medical education: AMEE Guide No. 44

Med Teach. 2009 Aug;31(8):685-95. doi: 10.1080/01421590903050374.


Reflection is a metacognitive process that creates a greater understanding of both the self and the situation so that future actions can be informed by this understanding. Self-regulated and lifelong learning have reflection as an essential aspect, and it is also required to develop both a therapeutic relationship and professional expertise. There are a variety of educational approaches in undergraduate, postgraduate and continuing medical education that can be used to facilitate reflection, from text based reflective journals and critical incident reports to the creative use of digital media and storytelling. The choice of approach varies with the intended outcomes, but it should also be determined by the user since everyone has a preferred style. Guided reflection, with supportive challenge from a mentor or facilitator, is important so that underlying assumptions can be challenged and new perspectives considered. Feedback also has an important role to enhance reflection. There is little research evidence to suggest that reflection improves quality of care but the process of care can be enhanced.

MeSH terms

  • Awareness*
  • Clinical Competence
  • Education, Medical / methods*
  • Ethics, Medical
  • Feedback
  • Humans
  • Knowledge of Results, Psychological*
  • Models, Educational
  • Self-Assessment*