Healthcare professionals use reflection as a means to learn from past experiences and improve practice. Therefore, various models have been proposed to support reflection among professionals. One of the models is the Gibbs Reflective Cycle, which was developed in 1988 by Graham Gibbs to provide a structured way of learning from experience (as cited in Husebø, O’Regan, & Nestel, 2015). The model provides an approach for evaluating experiences. Since the model is cyclic, it works effectively through repeated experiences in various settings. It allows one to learn and plan for various aspects of their professional and personal life (Potter, 2015). According to Husebø, O’Regan, and Nestel (2015), the model covers six phases which are important in the reflection process:
“Description of the experience; Feelings and thoughts about the experience; Evaluation of the experience, both good and bad; Analysis to make sense of the situation; Conclusion about what you learned and what you could have done differently; and Action plan for how you would deal with similar situations in the future, or general changes you might find appropriate.” (Bassot, 2016, p. 23).
Since I am learning about reflection, I will use the Gibbs Reflective Cycle to guide me on how to be effective in the process. I find it effective to move from one stage of the reflection to another as I learn from each experience. I have been creating journal entries since I decided to engage in the reflection to include some prominent experiences that might change my personal and professional life. I have not only created the journals but had a chance to revisit the entries to find the source of the learning experience and reflect on the things I could improve. It has been an opportunity to learn things I could improve in the entries to enhance the chance to create knowledge from personal experience. From the journals, I could describe the experience from an event, determine the feelings and thoughts related to the event, analyze the situation surrounding the event and related experience, conclude about the knowledge generated from experience, and take action to improve the learning experience (Potter, 2015). The process is critical to understand and make sense of daily activities and events.
17 February 2018
I experienced an event that has made me question the level of commitment among members of my team towards meeting our objectives. I realized that most of the members did not mind being late for the team meetings and ignored deadlines. In fact, during this particular day, the meeting was planned to begin at 0900 hours, but none of the members had arrived by 0915 hours. I was the first person to arrive at the meeting place at 0921 hours. We were given some work the previous day, which majority of the members had completed. It was impressive that people had worked effectively independently, but had challenges completing tasks as a group. All assignments were completed perfectly. However, we spent many hours discussing the team project because it was hard to agree on various aspects as a group. I allowed team members to work independently, but it was impossible to achieve team objectives in such an environment. I immediately realized that we needed to work on team discipline to create synergy.
Being the leader of the team, I knew that I have to work on creating an effective team to achieve team and organizational goals. That day, I discovered that I have to understand each member, including their strengths and weaknesses and use the information to assign duties and responsibilities to each member. Furthermore, I have to portray serious leadership to improve commitment. I have realized that the only way I can be effective in leading others is if I am an effective leader. Therefore, I gain important lessons from Covey’s seven habits of highly effective people (Covey, 2004).
The first habit is being proactive. The concept challenges people to take action and be responsible for the action through self-awareness. The second principle is beginning with the end in mind. It is important to anticipate the end before beginning any project. Vogus and Hilligoss (2016) add the importance of having a clear vision and direction towards the result. The third principle is putting the principal aspect first. The idea is to have a priority for the most important actions. The thinking of a win-win approach is the fourth habit that members of the team should create to enhance effective interdependent relationships (Covey, 2014). The sixth principle is to create synergy by understanding and respecting diversity. The final principle is Sharpen the Saw, which challenges effective people always to renew themselves physically, spiritually, mentally, and socially. The process allows people to practice other habits to become highly effective.
Potential Research Questions:
- What are the important characteristics of an effective leader?
- What makes an effective interdisciplinary team?
- How can you measure the success of an effective leader? How do you identify gaps in the results of such a team?
I have learned through research that effective teamwork is a function of effective leadership (Vogus & Hilligoss, 2016). The leader should have excellent communication and collaboration skills to create and work with effective team members. Therefore, as a leader, one should commit to ongoing learning and development, and encourage the same in others (Grossman & Valiga, 2016). I have realized that I need to create a disciplined team, establish team goals, and work towards achieving them. My team can contribute to organizational success, but should practice the seven habits of effectiveness.
20 February 2018
On this day, I had an opportunity to practice what I learned over the previous days about the need to create effective teams to achieve organizational goals. My department at the hospital required to research on a complex case of a patient. Since the case was challenging, I realized the need to create an interprofessional collaborative team that would bring different perspectives into addressing the case. I approached caregivers from different departments and disciplines in the hospital to research the case. In the first day, I was involved in creating the team and allocating duties and areas of research towards addressing the challenge. We would meet on a different day to discuss the findings and initiate an effective solution to the issue that members agreed would be a challenge if done individually. In addition, they identified those complex cases that required diverse perspectives to design a solution. In essence, we needed to work fast to resolve the issue.
23 February 2019
On this day, we would meet to discuss our findings from the different members of the team. I noted that members had improved in terms of keeping time and in the level of seriousness when dealing with the current issue. The case we were researching was a patient who had come to the hospital with what appeared to be a skin infection. The sores on his skin could have various explanations, including an allergic reaction, an infection, or a symptom of a serious condition. Therefore, it was important to move fast to determine the problem to treat the patient effectively.
Throughout his treatment period, doctors had managed to control the sores and the pain, but the skin problem persisted. Therefore, members of the interdisciplinary team were tasked with the responsibility of recommending possible solutions backed by research evidence. Each member of the team was asked to research and make a personal recommendation about the possible causes of the skin sores. During this day, each member of the interdisciplinary team gathered a report, which was presented to me as the team leader. However, members were given a chance to discuss and explain their independent findings. One of the things I realized during this critical meeting was that each of the team members had done thorough research and came up with a theory regarding the potential cause of the problem affecting the patient. For example, each member provided evidence from research to support the case. I was impressed by the fact that I had managed to create an actual learning team. One of the things I realized on this day was the level of respect between the members of the team. The discussion was effective and productive.
During this day, I had a chance to reflect and revisit the events of 17 February 2018 when members of the team arrived late and ill-prepared to discuss the team objectives. During that day, nothing much was achieved, and as a leader, I felt discouraged. However, things had improved, and members revealed a high level of commitment. The lessons I had learned from Covey (2004) supported my ability to create an effective team and communicate a vision that everyone supported.
I could revisit the important lessons I learned from Gibbs’ (1988) reflective model. I have learned that people learn better from their experiences. If I do something that fails to work, I should think about the most effective way of changing the situation to achieve different results (Bassot, 2016). Furthermore, I have discovered that I cannot get different results by performing a task the same way I have always done. I failed during the first day because my team was highly ineffective. However, building on communication and collaboration skills, I have managed to create a team committed to success (Lancaster, Kolakowsky‐Hayner, Kovacich, & Greer‐Williams, 2015). I have also learned important lessons for the future. I have been undertaking a project in Effective Management that has helped my efforts to become a highly successful team leader, especially in the area of interdisciplinary collaboration (Kraut, Egido, & Galegher, 2014). Among the lessons I am learning is to engage the team in continued learning and development because it is the only way to change and improve.
I have learned important lessons during the time I worked with teams and through previous failures. Interdisciplinary efforts allow individuals from different professions or disciplines to work together towards a common task and to achieve a shared goal (Kraut, Egido, & Galegher, 2014). While such efforts are important in various other areas, they are critical in health care services because of the need to deal with complex health challenges and the importance of solving health problems for positive patient outcomes (Delmatoff & Lazarus, 2014). Therefore, I have discovered the necessity to ensure that each team I create is effective in collaborating and coordinating efforts to achieve positive results (Covey 2004). Generally, I have learned the importance of creating teams with effective people.
Notably, successful interdisciplinary teamwork takes time to develop and become effective. I have discovered important lessons from the study conducted by Gilligan, Outram, and Levett-Jones (2014) that suggests the need to improve education to create working teams. The researchers reveal the necessity to support interprofessional education right from the training institutions. As a manager, working with people who have already trained to become effective in collaborating and communicating is easy and effective (Lancaster et al., 2015). Students should learn various aspects of interprofessional education, including collaboration and communication. Although the education system should include such training, I have noticed the importance of continued learning, especially after graduating and using the knowledge in practice. Leaders should ensure that members of their teams are always learning various aspects of teamwork, including collaborating with peers to develop quality interventions.
Learning is a deliberate action that leaders and members should undertake. For example, the initial meeting that failed offered important lessons on how to improve future encounters. It provided us with a chance to reflect on the things that we failed to do right and committed to change them in the future. I wanted members of my team to improve their collaborative skills because of future challenges. We are learning not only for the current results, but to improve our work in the future and become effective in treating our patients (Mulvale, Embrett, & Razavi, 2016). Therefore, I have committed to understand members of my team to support the learning process.
27 February 2018
The incident that occurred during this day revealed that we had developed considerably in terms of our ability to work together as members of an interdisciplinary team. However, it also revealed some of the areas we needed to improve to become more effective. During this day, I decided to get feedback from members of the team regarding what they thought about our success thus far. I discovered that most of the members had realized positive changes in our team, but some highlighted some of the areas that we needed to improve.
I have learned from Basso (2016) about the importance of reflection as a learning process. Notably, as I reflected, I gave the members of the team a chance to also think about their personal and group experiences. The theme of interprofessional cultural competence emerged as one of the major aspects of our learning process (Pecukonis, 2014). Other related themes included culture and diversity, especially regarding the role they play in building effective teams. As Kickett, Hoffman, and Flavell (2014) note, these aspects of teamwork can make or break a group if they are not effectively managed. Pecukonis (2014) provides important lessons on how to overcome cultural differences and related conflicts. The hospital environment has embraced multiculturalism, bringing together professionals from different cultures. Therefore, as Pecukonis (2014) further elucidates, it is critical to understand the differences and work effectively in culturally diverse settings. The knowledge and respect for differences is the most effective way of preventing and solving conflicts effectively if they arise.
The interdisciplinary team should understand their personal and professional differences to prevent negative outcomes. Communication is one of the most important aspects of success in such environments (Mulvale, Embrett, & Razavi, 2016). I realized that it is possible to disagree, but team members should discuss the differences and make a compromise to implement evidence-based solutions. Therefore, leaders should train their teams through interprofessional education and collaboration. They should conduct detailed analysis to establish clinical issues and perform comprehensive research for evidence to implement interventions. The process involves the identification of diverse insights and perspectives in providing care to various patients (Pecukonis, 2014). Therefore, the team should be trained on how to work together to develop and use knowledge through research.
Development of an inclusive team is critical to ensure success when implementing evidence-based practice. IDEA is a model that members of the team can use to learn and develop. “I” refers to the interactions within the health care setting. “D” is the data that they can use to promote their learning and research. Team members collect various types of data to improve their work and interactions within the interdisciplinary setting. “E” denotes the expertise that promotes the ability to work together, including the capability to communicate and collaborate. The process involves the ability to come together and work with people from different backgrounds to achieve shared goals. “A” is the “attention” including the potential for self-awareness and reflection on what the team achieves at particular points of their practice (Pecukonis et al., 2008). Focusing on the IDEA model will support the development of successful teams that can address complex health care problems.
I have realized that through self-reflection, I can become a great leader and support the development of members of my team. The initial journal entry shows various weaknesses in my leadership approach and experience, which is reflected in the failure of the group to achieve common objectives. However, after reflecting and improving my learning experience, I managed to improve myself and members of the team. I plan to continue reflecting using Gibbs Reflective Cycle and become more effective using Covey’s principles.
Reflection is an opportunity to learn from previous experience. Failure helps an individual to learn how to do things differently to succeed in the future, while success shows a person how to improve to achieve better results. Gibbs provides a cyclic model to help in reflection and to learn from experience. Being cyclic, the model means that one can go back and forth until positive results are achieved. I feel that using the model and the habits proposed by Covey has supported my efforts to become an effective leader as well as a member of an interdisciplinary team. It has also assisted me in training members of my team on how to improve their leadership skills and become better in working with others in a collaborative environment. The reflection has been an opportunity for my personal development as a leader. I believe that I can now lead diverse teams to achieve better results because I have reflected and improved in the areas I encountered challenges in the past.