Reflective Writing As A Tool Of Academic Success?

Reflective Writing The correlation is not so clear.  Within undergraduate medical education there is growing interest in using reflective writing, thought to encourage students to improve their critical thinking, enhance patient care and cultivate attitudes and behaviors needed for clinical practice.  This study from the Mayo Clinic investigates whether there is a relationship between academic performance, gender, residency choice, length of essay and quality of written reflections.  Between 2005 and 2011, 319 first-year anatomy students were asked to write a reflective essay on an anatomy case scenario.  To assess the quality of the written reflections the authors developed and validated a tool modified from the 2010 Wald and Reis REFLECT rubric.  Students were also given the NBME Gross Anatomy and Embryology Subject Examination.  This, as well as the students’ anatomy course grades, was used as measures of academic performance. The resulting statistical analysis showed that there was no correlation between the composite reflection score and performance on either the NMBE subject exam or course grades. There was, however, significant statistical correlation between gender and reflection scores.  Female students had a higher mean score than male students and students who opted for a medicine residency had a higher reflective score than did students who chose a surgery residency.  In addition, the longer the reflection essay, the higher the reflection score.  The authors suggest that success in medicine should not be defined solely by academic scores.  Professionalism and interpersonal skills are also necessary for students to develop into successful physicians , but the jury is still out as to whether or not these are competencies can improve with reflective writing. –Lee Ann Schein, Ph.D.

Ottenberg, Abigale L., Pasalic, Dario, Bui, Gloria T., Pawlina, Wojciech, An Analysis of Reflective Writing Early In The Medical Curriculum: The Relationship Between Reflective Capacity And Academic Achievement, Medical Teacher, 2015

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