Major Project Research

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2008 Fall Grads
Deirdre Thornton

In a hospital-based rehabilitation program for injured workers, therapists must be viewed as credible and competent when reporting assessment findings and generating recommendations for treatment in order to demonstrate program effectiveness to its clients and customers.

Purpose: This major project captured how clinicians identify, evaluate, and meet professional development needs; what continuing professional development (CPD) activities clinicians pursue and why; what factors facilitate and constrain CPD activities; and how clinicians transfer learning into practice.

Methods: A qualitative research pilot study, using in-depth interviews, explored the perceptions and attitudes of six therapists toward continuing professional development and the transfer of new learning in their program.

Findings: The study findings revealed that, despite a strong desire to pursue continuous learning and professional development, therapists may be experiencing gaps in their ability to access relevant learning opportunities, preventing them from confidently transferring evidence-based knowledge to clients.

Conclusion: The study suggests that therapists working in the injured worker rehabilitation program, supported by program management, may need to develop customized learning activities and generate evidence through practice-based research that is unique to challenges encountered in their practice setting. There may also be a role for a dedicated staff member to facilitate professional development activities, practice-based research, and the transfer of new learning into practice.

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