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Reflective notes

CPD is formative and it is about what it achieves for you and your practice rather than the summary of a learning event. That is why FPH does not credit specific CPD activity but relies on its members to select appropriate activity and reflect upon it. Reflective notes are at the core of FPH’s CPD programme. These do not have to be lengthy but should reflect on how the learning was relevant and how it will impact on your practice.

FPH CPD Advisers Committee has adopted the view that, in verifying the CPD of any given public health professional, the use of reflective notes written by the public health professional about their learning is the most discriminating form of evidence of effective CPD. This is confirmed by the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges.

It is even more important to take time systematically to reflect on learning as this is more likely to embed the learning within subsequent practice. Reflection should occur as soon as possible following the event – to be contemporaneous and meaningful.

Construction of reflective notes

There are four elements to be completed in each reflective note for each CPD activity claimed

  1. Why did I choose this activity for my CPD? (Focuses on how the activity relates to your learning needs as identified through reflection on your practice and described in your PDP)
  2. What did I learn from this activity or event? (Focuses on your thoughts at the time of the activity and critically analyses any new learning that took place)
  3. So what am I going to do to apply this learning in my work? (Focuses on the significance of what happened and why this may influence future learning or practice)
  4. Now what am I going to do to further develop this learning and/or meet any gaps in my knowledge, skills or understanding? (Focuses on future actions and plans for further development, if necessary)

For further information and tips on writing effective reflective notes, please see: Tips on Writing Effective Reflective Notes.

The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges in collaboration with COPMeD developed guidance on reflection, entitled 'Facilitating Reflection' which you can access here. This document includes tips to support supervisors in guiding supervisees in their reflective practice.

The GMC, along with eight other healthcare regulators, also published a joint statement on the importance and benefits of being a reflective practitioner. The statement can be found here.

You can also find examples of good quality reflective notes. We have also included examples of reflective notes on climate and health and further resources on climate and health can be found on the Sustainable Development SIG pages. 

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