Introduction: Reflection and reflective practice is of increasing importance in medical education curricula. The aim of this review is to summarise the literature published around facilitating refection in a medical course, and to answer the question: What is the current evidence regarding learning and development moments across the medical curriculum in developing students' reflective practice? Methods: A review of the literature was undertaken using defined databases and the search terms 'medical students', 'medical education', 'reflection', 'reflect*' and 'medicine'. The search was limited to peer-reviewed published material in English and between the years 2001 and 2011, and included research, reviews and opinion pieces. Results: Thirty-six relevant articles were found, identifying enhancing factors and barriers to effectively teaching reflective practice within medical curricula, relating to: The breadth of the meaning of reflection; facilitating reflection by medical educators; using written or web-based portfolios to facilitate reflection; and assessing the reflective work of students. Discussion: A variety of reflective purposes was found in this literature review. Evidence indicates that, if students are unclear as to the purpose of reflection and do not see educators modelling reflective behaviours, they are likely to undervalue this important skill regardless of the associated learning and development opportunities embedded in the curriculum.
- Medical students
- Reflective practice