Intended for healthcare professionals

Observations Ethics Man

Knocking out written reflections

BMJ 2018; 360 doi: (Published 02 February 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;360:k546
  1. Daniel Sokol, medical ethicist and barrister
  1. 12 King’s Bench Walk, London
  1. daniel.sokol{at}

Meaningful reflection improves performance, but writing isn’t the best way to do it

In a bid to lose my belly, which has expanded at such a rate that my trousers no longer fit, I have taken up boxing. In my second sparring session I fought “the Viking.” Despite his bulk, he was so elusive that I was unable to hit him. He, on the other hand, punched me so hard and so often around the head that I suffered whiplash for three days.

In the following days I reflected on what happened. Why did I miss? Why was I such an easy target? What could I do differently? Identifying and avoiding mistakes were a priority for me because, frankly, being hit hurts.

Whether in boxing or medicine, meaningful reflection is crucial …

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