Reflection as part of continuous professional development for public health professionals: a literature review


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Abstract

BackgroundFor many years, reflection has been considered good practice in medical education. In public health (PH), while no formal training or teaching of reflection takes place, it is expected as part of continuous professional development. This paper aims to identify reflective models useful for PH and to review published literature on the role of reflection in PH. The paper also aims to investigate the reported contribution, if any, of reflection by PH workers as part of their professional practice.MethodsA review of the literature was carried out in order to identify reflective experience, either directly related to PH or in health education. Free text searches were conducted for English language papers on electronic bibliographic databases in September 2011. Thirteen papers met the inclusion criteria and were reviewed.ResultsThere is limited but growing evidence to suggest reflection improves practice in disciplines allied to PH. No specific models are currently recommended or widely used in PH.ConclusionsHealth education literature has reflective models which could be applied to PH practice.

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