a1 Radiation Medicine Program, Princess Margaret Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
A recurring theme from the literature is that the definition of reflection is nebulous and/or complex. Many authors have suggested that more research needs to be conducted to better understand an individual’s perception of reflection and reflective practice, and how these concepts affect their clinical practice as well as their personal growth and development. This paper offers the findings of a qualitative study of radiation therapists in Canada. The aim of the study was to explore radiation therapist’s understanding of the concept of reflection, and to understand how they incorporated it into their daily practice. Secondary objectives were to examine some of the perceived barriers to its use, and the possible challenges of implementing reflective writing. Two focus groups were initially conducted, and a follow-up questionnaire was developed using the themes generated from the focus groups. The questionnaire was distributed to radiation therapists at two large cancer centres in Toronto, Canada. Most participants indicated that it is an integral part of their practice and professional lives, and that they use a variety of different methods for engaging in reflection. It is not without its barriers, but many of these can be overcome by providing time, coaching and a supportive work environment. Respondents were divided as to whether they would benefit from being taught reflection; however, small group teaching would be the favoured method. Further study is suggested to determine whether there are any improvements to patient care and in particular patient outcomes.