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Reflective Practice and Leadership in Medicine and Medical Education

In 1999, the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) identified and adopted six core competencies that residency programs must include to prepare their residents to become new physicians. These competencies – patient care, medical knowledge, practice-based learning and improvement, interpersonal and communication skills, professionalism, and systems-based practice – have been identified as key targets by medical education experts (see Methods for Medical Educators: Background), and they require that physicians be capable of routinely dealing with complex biological, psychological, and social issues. To do this effectively, physicians must be able to systematically analyze a situation both before and after taking action. True leaders in medicine are those who consistently apply this systematic reflection. For the purposes of this website, we call this Reflective Practice and Leadership (RP&L).

Defining "Reflective Practice" and "Leadership"

We define "Reflective Practice" as the disciplined analysis of complex situations that result in strategic, effective action. We define "Leadership" as the ability to guide patients, families, staff, and colleagues through threatening and challenging circumstances in clinical, research, and educational settings. These definitions and methods are not definitive or exhaustive. Rather we offer this approach as a tool to help prepare physicians and allied health professionals for the leadership dimensions of their roles. Specifically, this site will help medical professionals apply RP&L principles to all of their professional responsibilities — whether assisting patients, conducting research, teaching, serving as mentors, or supporting colleagues. In essence, the RP&L process will help equip medical professionals with a critical leadership skill: the ability to take action after systematic reflection.

This site offers 3 major sections:

  1. Methods for Medical Educators: This section presents a step-by-step description of our RP&L approach and includes a resources page with lists of useful print and web-based items. A complete review of this section will enable a medical educator to design and pilot an RP&L educational event in his or her own institution.

  2. RP&L Matrix: The RP&L Matrix provides a platform for a learning community of professionals around the world who have an interest in reflective practice, leadership, and medicine. Those with a strong interest in developing RP&L educational methods can visit this section to learn how to join the Reflective Practice Matrix.

  3. Use the “Contact Us” form to send us questions, comments, concerns, or ideas about the site. You may also use the form to indicate your interest in joining the RP&L Matrix.