Background and Purpose.
Reflection is the hallmark of professional practice. Professionals reflect in action, assess outcomes, and seek continuous improvement. This article presents a model by which all aspects of reflective practice can be facilitated within an integrative case study classroom experience.
Description and Evaluation.
Physical therapy students from Stony Brook University participated in a week-long integrative case study course following their first semester of professional studies. This course served to enhance critical thinking skills as students integrated and applied course material in preparation for clinical practice. Paper patients, video patients, and interactions with residents from a local nursing home provided the experiential bases for reflective activities. Students worked through the patient/client management model in developing a plan of care and providing interventions for a number of residents. Each experiential component was followed by a reflective activity. Students worked independently and in small faculty-mentored groups, and participated in large group discussions. Faculty mentors encouraged questioning and the exploration of assumptions and alternative perspectives. Problem lists, evaluations, care plans, student-generated metaphors, group presentations, and summative reflective essays confirmed the types and levels of reflection that occurred throughout the week and provided evidence of critical thinking, integration, and professional development.
This model demonstrated how the reflective process can be incorporated into an integrative classroom experience to prepare students to meet the demands of practice as they begin to take on the role of a reflective practitioner and lifelong learner. It demonstrated the ease of facilitating integration, critical thinking skills, and professional behaviors in a classroom setting.
Discussion and Conclusions.
Professional practice requires physical therapists (PTs) to function efficiently and effectively within a dynamic environment. Literature suggests that reflective practice is valuable in the development of a practitioner who can engage in ongoing learning and professional development, and continually reassess and modify care. This model offers a mechanism in which theory meets practice in the classroom setting in preparation for clinical practice.