All Candidates are required to complete and submit the Reflective Journal Writing (two separate 500 word pieces) component of the Fellowship Training Program prior to sitting the Pre Fellowship Oral Examination.
1. What is Reflective Journal Writing?
Reflective journal writing is evidence of reflective thinking and involves a description of an issue or experience as well as an exploration or critical analysis and explanation of events. Reflective writing is a process where you can learn from your experiences and is often used to 'reflect forward' to the future as well as 'reflect back' on the past.
In her discussion of using journals in learning through reflection, Jenny Moon (1999a) identifies many purposes of writing journals. These include:
- To deepen the quality of learning, in the form of critical thinking or developing a questioning attitude
- To enable learners to understand their own learning process
- To increase active involvement in learning and personal ownership of learning
- To enhance professional practice or the professional self in practice
- To enhance the personal valuing of the self towards self-empowerment
- To enhance creativity by making better use of intuitive understanding
- To free-up writing and the representation of learning
- To provide an alternative ‘voice’ for those not good at expressing themselves
- To foster reflective and creative interaction in a group
2. How reflective writing enhances reflective practice
The process of exploring how journals assist their writers learn is commonly described in terms of how they can enhance reflective practice. Reflection has been described as a process of turning experience into learning. That is, of exploring experience in order to learn new things from it. Reflection has been described as 'those intellectual and affective activities in which individuals engage to explore their experiences in order to lead to new understandings and appreciations.' (Boud, Keogh and Walker 1985:19)
3. How can Reflective Journal writing assist in developing leadership skills?
The task of submitting two reflective journal writing pieces is given to candidates because of the established link between reflection and deeper learning. As well as facilitating learning, the intention of the task of reflective journal writing is for candidates to acquire a habit of reflection, achieve high levels of self-awareness and grow in the profession of medical administration. The key role competencies of Medical Leader and Communicator are the focus for this requirement of the Fellowship Training Program and are more specifically described in RACMA’s Medical Leadership and Management Curriculum.
The Reflective Journal Writing will be:
- Contextualised and relate to an event/s, situation/s that have impacted on the Candidate’s work and have caused him or her to learn more about themselves, and/ or about becoming a professional medical manager and/ or improving the way that they work in the context of the RACMA competencies for a medical administrator.
- A reflective self-analysis/critique of the personal journey located within the context and the events/ situations alluded to.
- An explication of what the Candidate has learned about themselves, in the context of the RACMA Medical Leader and Communicator competencies and how they have changed their behaviour and/or thinking as a result
4. Support and resources
Candidates may attend reflective writing workshops that are currently held as part of the annual Communications Workshop. There may also be other opportunities in the year to attend webinars on reflective writing and reflective practice. These opportunities will be made known to candidates when they become available.
The College also has a small faculty of Fellows who have expertise in reflective writing. These Fellows will be introduced to Candidates at such webinars and workshops.
5. Fellowship Training Program Requirements
5.1 Candidates are required to submit reflective journal writing pieces as part of their Leadership Program requirement in the Fellowship Training Program.
5.1.1 Candidates via standard pathway without advanced standing are required to submit two (2) separate reflective journal writing pieces
5.1.2 Candidates via the standard pathway with recognition of prior learning of 12 months (or more) are required to submit only one (1)) reflective journal writing piece
5.1.3Candidates via the clinical specialist pathway with recognition of prior learning of 18 months (or more) are required to submit only one (1) reflective journal writing piece
6. National Training Calendar
6.1 Candidates are required to submit either 1 or 2 separate pieces of writing (500 words a piece) which may/may not equate to an entry in a personal journal.
6.2 All candidates will submit these documents in Year 2 of their Candidacy and in accordance with the National Training Calendar submission dates.
Note: Candidates are not required to maintain a journal over the course of their training program. Candidates may choose to maintain a journal to assist their reflective and learning throughout their work practice period but this is not a RACMA requirement.
7. Assessment of Reflective Journal Writing
7.1 Assessment will be undertaken by Censors for Reflective Journal Writing
7.2 The Reflective Journal writing is undertaken as part of the Leadership Role Competency development and is included as a mandatory requirement in the Fellowship Training Program. The Candidate will receive written feedback on the following points:
Context and Description
- There is a concise and easily understood description of the background/context/participant
- The writing of the reflective journal is appropriately structured and flows logically
- The writing is in the reflective style i.e. it is not a scientific analysis, it does not write in the third person style; it is personal
- The writing places the self at the centre of the writing
Analysis and Reflection
- The candidate provides a personal reflection of the event with a focus on his/her own involvement, response/reaction, behaviour and thinking
- The candidate clearly considers and writes about the process of problem identification and action/response taking and/or decision forming with a focus on personal behaviours, and writes about the process of identifying how they will personally improve or change their own behaviours to others if there is a 'next time'
- Lower level reflective process is evident – the candidate expresses feelings about the situation and how it unfolded ; evidence of personal learning is descriptive with little demonstration of how the candidate 'arrived' at this learning
- The candidate may critically reflect on their behaviours/reactions and be reflexive and show in the writing how their personal biases, values and beliefs have been challenged. This is higher level reflective writing and maximises person learning and knowledge about the self.
Clarification of Learning and Competency
- The candidate reflects on development as a competent manager in her/his management of this event(s)
- There is evidence of consideration of the College medical management competencies in context
- There is a summary or conclusion that draws out personal learning and builds new knowledge
7.3 It is expected that the candidate will discuss this feedback with their Preceptor
8. Submission Process
8.1 Candidates are required to submit their Reflective Journal writing piece(s) to their Preceptor who will discuss, read and sign off on the Fellowship Training Program Assessment Task Cover Sheet for Reflective Journal Writing and then the Candidate will submit it to the National Office via the online submission tool (eETP).
8.2 The Assessors will endeavour to mark these submissions and provide the written feedback to Candidates within 6 weeks of the submission date
On becoming a Critically Reflexive Practitioner. Ann L. Cunliffe. Journal of Management Education 2004; 28; 407 http://www.sagepublications.com
Boud.D. (2001). Using journal writing to enhance reflective practice. In English, L.M. and Gillen, M.A. (Eds.) Promoting Journal Writing in Adult Education. New Directions in Adult and Continuing Education No. 90. San Francisco; Jossey-Bass, 9-18