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Durham e-Theses
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Continuing professional development for physiotherapists: Exploring their choices in career long learning

Johnson, Helena Claire (2008) Continuing professional development for physiotherapists: Exploring their choices in career long learning. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



Purpose. The purpose of the thesis is to add to the body of knowledge of continuing professional development (CPD) for physiotherapists, by exploring the views of physiotherapists employed in NHS sites within one Strategic Health Authority. Relevance. Increasingly physiotherapists are under pressure to demonstrate engagement in CPD in order to demonstrate their competence, with a statutory requirement (HPC, 2003) that requires practitioners to show evidence of having undertaken CPD and to have applied this to their practice. Research Methods. The study used an interpretive approach and a sequential multi-method exploratory design involving 2 phases of data collection. Participants: Phase 1: 357 NHS physiotherapists; phase 2: 22 respondents from the survey. Data Collection Tools: Phase 1 used a four-page self-completion postal questionnaire. Phase 2 used semi-structured individual interviews. Analysis: The survey data from 140 completed questionnaires were analysed using SPSS. Principal Component Analysis (PCA) was used as a data reduction technique. The interview transcripts were analysed using NVivo 7.Findings. 32 different CPD activities were identified. PCA revealed 3 components as reasons for engaging in CPD activities, and 4 components as barriers to CPD. Internal consistency using Cronbach's Alpha was acceptable to good (.653 to .891). A Friedman ranks test found that the rank order of these components was consistent across all subgroups and the significance was p<0.05.Discussion. The findings suggest that there should be a greater focus on the contribution that work-based and self-directed learning activities can have on the CPD of physiotherapists in the NHS, at a time when finding in CPD is limited, as informal learning in the workplace is not always acknowledged within current policies. Measuring the impact of CPD remains a challenge, as personal benefit and benefit to the service cannot be easily separated. Conclusion. The findings indicate that the participants' decisions to engage in CPD were influenced more strongly by values related to improving clinical skills and patient care, than by the prospect of extrinsic rewards such as increase in pay and promotion. An increased understanding of the differences in CPD requirements of physiotherapists, at different stages in their careers, and practising in different clinical specialities, should enable appropriate CPD activities to be developed to ensure that they are appropriately supported in these roles.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Education
Thesis Date:2008
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:08 Sep 2011 18:27

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