Preceptorship Reflective Journal Guidelines

Reflective -- thoughtful, given to meditation, characterized by deep careful thought.
Journal -- a written daily record of personal experiences.  Often provide insight on the social and cultural climate.   (Oxford Dictionary)

Journal Purpose and Benefits

Clinical experience is powerful and provides a unique and reliable source of knowledge. Some experiences in this setting may evoke strong emotional responses. Reflection can be generated from any experience - an ordinary, everyday event, an incident that went well or a negative experience. What makes the experience different is the meaning that you attach to it. If you reflect on something it means it is important to you.

Reflection allows you to revisit, and learn from experiences while making connections between theory and practice; readings and experience; thoughts and feelings; beliefs and behaviors; concepts and observations; and between old knowledge and new knowledge. Learning occurs when you take in information, think about it, make sense of it, and connect it to what you already know. Learning also requires that you see how to apply new information and where to apply it. This necessitates careful consideration before action. Writing about what we have learned disciplines us to become more thoughtful, reflective and analytic.

The main purpose of keeping a journal is to give you the chance to reflect on your experiences and allow for  documentation of those experiences. Journaling provides you with the time and opportunity to think about what you saw, what it all may mean, and how you felt about a specific incident or the experience as a whole. In addition, cognitive activities stimulated by this type of journal include observation, speculation, doubt, questioning, self-awareness, problem stating and problem solving, emoting (display of heightened emotions), and ideation (to form an idea). The outcome of this deliberate reflection will result in growth, sharper analytical skills, and empowerment. Analyzing critical or significant incidents therefore facilitates future professional development and identifies and justifies changes in clinical practice.


For each assignment, you will either choose three of five questions to be discussed or write one to two pages of free form reflection. Please answer questions fully and indicate which questions you are answering. You will turn in your assignments through Canvas. Keep to a singular format for all entries.

  • Your journal should be double spaced, with 12 point font
  • Limit the number of pages of each journal to 2, if possible.
  • Add your name in the header 


At the end of your time with ‘your’ physician, please go to course evaluation and add, in the box provided, a short paragraph stating your thoughts  about the course. I would like to hear about the positive and the negative. Without your input  and specific suggestions we do not know what needs to be changed or improved.


Reflective Journal Discussion Questions

Assignment #1

  1. What was the most important point of information you learned during this session? What insights have you gained? What does this learning make you think about? Why?
  2. How does this learning connect to other learning or things in your life? What feelings does that arouse?
  3. How did you feel about what you did in your shadowing session today? Why?
  4. What did you do well? How does that make you feel? Why do you feel that way? How would you do it   differently?
  5. What are you confused about? Why? What part was the most difficult? Why?

Assignment #2

  1. What, in your opinion, are the characteristics of a GREAT physician? Do you think the stated characteristics are learned or acquired? When you compare yourself to your stated opinion of a great physician, where do you think you need to improve and how will you go about improving yourself?
  2. What do you need help with? How would, and do, you go about getting stated help? What are you learning from this process?
  3. What do you want to learn more about? How do you go about gaining such learning?
  4. What part in this session would you like reviewed next time? Why?
  5. What has using this journal confirmed that you already know about your learning? What, in writing this journal surprised you about yourself?

Assignment #3

  1. What professional development activities should you be seeking? What would you gain from such learning? How would you apply such learning to your life in general and professionally?
  2. What do you need to do to improve the quality of what you do? The quality of your life in general?
  3. If you have shadowed a physician in the past, reflect on the similarities and difference in practice, physician-patient interaction, characteristics of physician, characteristics of patients, etc.
  4. Compare the image of you as a physician previous to the preceptorship with the image of you as a physician close to the end of your preceptorship. Has the image change and how? Why do you think it changed?
  5. Looking at your time shadowing a physician, what is the most important thing you have learned and why?


Websites of Interest:
/node/129 - Preceptorship homepage
/node/245 - Premed FAQ
/node/354 - Preceptorship timesheet

Guidelines for Letters of Recommendations -