What is a Reflective Practice Group?
It is a facilitated professional development group which provides a safe place to reflect on work within the veterinary industry.
The group is small (maximum of 10 participants). And conveniently, group meetings are held monthly on Zoom. You can join from anywhere that has a decent internet connection!
The focus of the group is on the professional attributes that underpin our specific technical skills and knowledge – attributes such as self-awareness, mindset, emotional intelligence, stress management, communication and motivation.
The VetSet2Go project has highlighted the importance of life skills such as these, in allowing veterinarians to “develop a career pathway that achieves satisfaction and success”. And the likelihood is that this holds true for people in other roles within our industry.
We seek to grow these capabilities using your experiences as a learning tool. The group is interactive and you are invited to consider things rather than told what to do.
Make Headway has partnered with the Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) to provide two groups for individuals to join. And you don’t have to be an AVA member to be involved! Please click on the links below to find out more and to register for monthly meetings from Feb to Nov 2022.
Make Headway facilitators also work with new graduate and mentor groups within veterinary corporates and practice groups. If you are interested in setting up a group for your workplace, please get in touch to find out more.
That sounds interesting. Are they new?
Yes and no. Make Headway have been successfully running groups of this type for the past 3 years. Peer discussion and supervision groups are common in many health-care professions and countries around the world. They have also been written about in the veterinary industry (Blum 2018, Moir and Van Den Brink 2019).
What about Balint work? I have heard that Make Headway does that.
You heard right! Balint group work is a form of reflective practice where we talk about the cases and interactions that trouble you, which come into your mind uninvited – maybe swirling around and causing stress and distress. You may have one sitting with you right now – a particular death or conversation or perhaps a complaint? Talking about these in a safe and non-judgemental place allows us to make more sense of what happened and to be able to move forwards.
Cathy has been excited about Balint work for a few years now and has been working with the Balint Society to become an accredited leader. Cathy is one of only two veterinarians world-wide (to the best of our knowledge) that is completing the training – the other being in the US.
Want to find out more? Cathy collaborated with Renske van Den Brink in 2020 to write an article on the whys and wherefores of Balint group work in the veterinary world. Click here to read it.
Whilst Cathy is excited about the benefits of Balint work in our profession, it has been hard to establish an on-going group. If you would like to organise one for your work-place, please get in touch.
What are the benefits of joining a Reflective Practice group?
Joining a Reflective Practice group is a proactive investment in your mental health.
- Grow your support network and have a safe place to talk about your challenges and successes with people that understand.
- Enhance your ability to manage difficult situations and encounters.
- Access personalized learning and skills building in areas that reduce stress and increase resilience, work satisfaction and well-being.
Providing membership to a Share and Care Group for your team members helps businesses to;
- Develop, engage and retain great employees
- Meet your duty of care to the physical and psychological health of your employees, assisting them to manage the known risk factors associated with veterinary work