Reflecting on a discussion

It’s not long now until I have to revalidate for the first time and I am trying to be super organised.  As my revalidation date is at the start of September I thought it best to get everything sorted this side of the summer.  I have always been an overly organised person – when we go on a long dog walk I’m the person who takes bite cream and plasters just in case! My revalidation is no exception – I have lost count of the amount of times I have logged on to the NMCs revalidation website - to the extent that I apologise to the NMC as its me who is bumping up your visitor figures, which are sure to drop post September!

I now have my portfolio ready.  I opted for a paper version in the end – I can hear you all saying “what?” – however I tried digital but felt that I needed to really see, touch and visualise my portfolio.  I think that this has something to do with the way I learn, I need to use as many senses as possible and my revalidation is no exception.

IMG_2729I have divided the portfolio into colour-coded sections that correspond to each revalidation requirement. I have my feedback and have completed my reflections.  And this week I had my reflective discussion.

IMG_2730I have an unusual role being a self-employed nurse working in social media so I was a little worried about my reflective discussion.  I approached a fellow nurse, Wendy,  who tweets who I respect and who’s opinion I value and she kindly agreed to help.  We live quite far apart from each other so we decided to use Skype.  I emailed her my reflections so that she could read them before hand and we both sat down with a cup of tea and Skyped.

Having never experienced a reflective discussion before I’m not sure that I knew what to expect.  I was worried about being put “on the spot” or having to answer tricky questions but it wasn’t like that at all.  Wendy made me feel at ease, she used phrases like “I was really interested to read……” and she related my reflections to her own work and experiences.  We found that there were similarities in situations we had come across, particularly one challenging situation that I had reflected on,  but we had dealt with them differently.  We were able to look at why that was and how we would perhaps deal with similar experiences in the future.  We chatted for almost an hour – and stayed on topic ! I can’t thank Wendy enough for making the reflective discussion a positive and worthwhile experience.

The whole discussion has left me reflecting …. Did the reflective discussion help me to become a better nurse? I think perhaps it has …. It gave me time to stop, articulate thoughts, share experiences and understand the reasons for my actions.  It helped me to reason why I felt the way I did about some things and in turn I feel that this will help me in the future in applying learning and learning from experiences and feedback. I think that it has also given me a bit more confidence, people often say that a problem shared is a problem halved perhaps this is true for reflecting on challenging situations. There is a part of you, when faced with a challenging situation, that thinks “is it me?” By reflecting and discussing it can help with that feeling of being the only person to have experienced this and give confidence to act as needed in the future when faced with similar situations.

I hope that if ever I am asked to have a reflective discussion with someone I can do it to the same excellent standard as Wendy did for me, I certainly have a great role model to follow.

At the end of the discussion Wendy asked if I had someone to act as confirmer – I sheepishly said that I hoped that she would consider doing it and again she kindly agreed.  However my hefty, well organised portfolio is somewhat of a challenge in itself – so we decided this was a great excuse to meet up and catch up in person …… I will be hiring a trailer for my portfolio ;D