I.F.E.A.R reflection: an easy to use, adaptable template for paramedics

Paramedics are required by the Health Professions Council, as a condition for maintaining their registration, to maintain high clinical standards and continuously engage in their own professional development. Similarly, student paramedics are required to provide a portfolio of evidence that demonstrates their development and eventual competency. One means of engaging with this process is to apply a formal reflection process to emergency calls attended. Reflection is a hot-topic in paramedic education. However, it is known that for some, reflection can be daunting. Concerns about the academic process, writing and knowing where to begin are often articulated by students attending higher education programmes. This article outlines a suggested reflective framework adapted from Gibbs (1985) reflective cycle. It outlines a series of applicable, sequential questions. Reflection is about using questions to retell a story; it’s about answering these questions critically and, in so doing, often results in a well structured, reflective case-study; as well as improving one’s own clinical understanding and practice. In practice, we have found that both experienced practitioners and student paramedics have been able to use these steps to shape their writing. For those new to writing reflective case studies, the questions help to provide the muse for overcoming the ‘blank-sheet-of-paper’ inertia that can accompany portfolio building.

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