Critical reflective practice and continuing professional development: Box ticking or deep learning?

Authors: Chapman, J.A. and Williams, J.W.

Conference: 17th International WCPT Congress, World Physical Therapy

Dates: 1-4 May 2015

Issue: SI-PO-02-20-Sat.


Background Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is recognised as an essential component for evolving professional practice and a requirement for continued registration with regulatory bodies. Critical reflective practice (CRP) is integral to CPD to enable learning from experience with a direct impact on service and self. Despite Physiotherapy students learning CRP skills, it is unclear whether these skills are maintained following graduation and how they influence professional practice.

Purpose The aim of this study was to explore the views of UK qualified Physiotherapists and students on the use of CRP in CPD. Methods This introductory study used a theoretical/deductive approach to semi-structured interviews of seven current Physiotherapy students from a higher education institution which has a strong emphasis on CRP skill development. 10 qualified Physiotherapists, three of whom were recent graduates, were also interviewed. Interviews were transcribed verbatim and data analysed thematically. A master script was used to generate preliminary themes and further scripts read for thematic connections. Additional themes were added in an iterative process until a list of major themes was agreed on. Results Three major themes were identified from the interviews.

All interviewed recognised the importance of CPD and CRP in shaping practice; however the amount and depth varied in response to the demand from specific drivers of CPD. Drivers identified included most commonly appraisals from employers, regulatory bodies and, to a lesser extent, self. Since CPD appeared intrinsically linked with appraisals, participants favoured a strategic approach to accomplish competency-based demands of such external drivers.

Participants acknowledged the difference between CPD driven by external drivers and the deeper learning resulting from CRP. However, CRP was quickly lost in practice after graduation emphasising the need for strategies to enhance the transition from student to graduate so that the impact on self-development is not lost.

E-portfolios offer great advantages for the collation of CPD however; they may not be the ideal tool to enhance CRP. They necessitate internet access, require many stages to log in and qualified Physiotherapists seem to favour paper based systems.

Conclusion(s) The CPD of these qualified Physiotherapists are externally driven by the need for proof of competence. Breadth is favoured over depth and despite developing the skills of CRP; these skills are largely unrewarded by those driving CPD. Translation of CRP skills learnt within university is lacking and strategies are required to enhance this transition. New e-portfolios/platforms are required to facilitate depth of CPD. This study highlights the lost skill of CRP in the CPD process and offers some suggested causes. Implications CPD amongst qualified staff follows an externally driven breadth model with competence demonstrated through formal learning opportunities, like courses. The use of CRP (even on these formal opportunities) appears lost in the workplace, despite these skills having been developed in training. Strategies to enhance the transfer of CRP skills to practice, emphasising self-development and directly evidencing service improvement require more consideration.

Keywords CPD, CRP, Professional practice Contact Details •; Tel: +44 (0)1202 961846 Bournemouth University, School of Health and Social Care, Royal London House, Christchurch Road, Bournemouth, Dorset, UK, BH1 3LT Funding acknowledgements This study received funding from the Centre of Excellence in Learning, Bournemouth University. Ethics This study was approved by the Ethics committee of Bournemouth University. References: Paterson, C. and Chapman, J., 2013. Enhancing skills of critical reflection to evidence learning in professional practice. Physical Therapy in Sport. 14 (3); 133-138. Smith, M. and Trede, F., 2013. Practical concerns of educators assessing reflections of physiotherapy students. Physical Therapy. 18(6); 445-451.

Johns, C., 2005. Reflection on the relationship between technology and caring. Nursing in Critical Care. 10(3):150-5

Source: Manual