Getting students to apply their personal and professional experiences to practice is an essential part of continuing professional development. Bolton's 4th edition is a key text in the expanding literature on reflective practice for all practitioners. It remains the most contemporary, readable and relevant book for many subject areas.
During a long, rich and varied career in nursing I have learnt that how we care, how we give of ourselves to others, begins and ends with understanding of who we are. In Reflective Practice, Gillie Bolton provides a torch that helps us to shine a light on our personal motivations, anxieties, needs and defences, giving us the insights we need to better care for the patients, families and carers that we serve.
I particularly liked the chapters relating to stories and metaphors. The author talks about the importance of stories in story form, a creative approach that really catches the imagination. The book is beautifully written and the vignettes are like stories in themselves. The Write to Learn exercises are a great way to consolidate knowledge and practice reflective writing skills.
Abraham Flexner a physician and educator at Princeton wrote in 1939 that “the conception of what is useful may not have become too narrow to be adequate to the roaming and capricious possibilities of the human spirit”. Whilst striving towards a collection of knowledge that is immediately useful and relevant, we overlook that deep learning, the kind that leads to the transfer of ideas, requires the pondering of information that seems irrelevant or useless. Bolton’s work provides a toolkit for students and academics contemplate the opaqueness of knowledge, to spend time ‘letting go’ of certainties, and thus create a higher mental state for problem solving.
This ‘go-to’ book is an absolute must for everyone concerned with professional development. In this fifth edition, the writers have enhanced the examples and activities of reflective writing and questioning, leading the reader to deeper understandings of reflection and reflexivity. It is a wonderfully supportive book for all practitioners.