Journaling is one way of reflecting and can include your thoughts about anything. For some, the process of writing, which forces us to sit down and slow down can be both catharteic and a means to gain insights. (Perri Klass wrote an excellent book based on the journal she kept while matriculating in medical school called A Not Entirely Benign Procedure: Four Years as a Medical Student, 1994.)
Some people choose to limit their reflections to patient-related matters. This type of journaling was dubbed “parallel charting” by Rita Charon, MD, PhD. She decribes this as a “chart” outside of the traditional medical record where personal and clinical considerations critical to the care of the patient that do not belong in the official chart can be recorded. (Charon R. Literature and medicine. Am J Med Sci, 2000; 319(5):285-91.) For example, how your patient, dying from prostate cancer, reminds you of your grandfather so it is hard to go in the room.
Frequency of entries is at your discretion. You are not obligated to share all journal entries and may choose to submit sample entries or a summary of why you chose to journal and what you learned or gained from the experience at the end of the clerkship.